Yoga for kids is recently becoming a norm. We live in a fast-paced world. Every day, we have deadlines to beat, targets to achieve, places to be and so on. These demands can be very stressful. And indeed they are. But did you know that even our children undergo a lot of stress? From the anxiety of upcoming examinations, illness, the death of a family member, change of schools, to the simple gestures we make about the child’s appearance?
All this put excessive pressure on children. Far much more than their physical and mental capability! And when these children can’t handle it anymore, you notice a lack of concentration, throwing tantrums, sleeping problems, eating disorders, headaches, and even drug abuse. In fact, research shows that stress is the leading cause of mental health problems in children and teens. And we the parents can play a crucial role in helping these children cope with stress through yoga.
Yoga is based on the principle of prevention rather than treatment. It emphasizes the body’s ability to heal itself. The best part is that it can be customized to fit the specific needs of any child. With activities such as relaxation techniques, the assumption of postures and many more, a good yoga instructor can quickly make these activities fun and effortless for any child.
As a parent, your emphasis at home can supplement the instructor’s efforts. This is because yoga’s benefits build up through regular practice. Soon, your child will be living a stress-free life because he/she has learned alternative ways to cope with stress.
However, the major concerns among most parents I have interacted with remain; what can my child gain from yoga? How can I choose the best instructor for my kid? How can I assist my child at home to practice yoga as a way of coping with stress? I have answered all these concerns and more in this article, let’s get started, shall we?
The Benefits of Kids Yoga Classes
Yoga introduced at an early age builds a child’s self-esteem and physical awareness. In addition, attending kids yoga classes will benefit your child in the following ways:
Have you ever noticed how children forget about their worries when they do an activity they enjoy? A sweet, captivating story told by a person they trust can do the trick. Yoga has similar activities. In the kids’ yoga classes, they tell stories, play games and music, mimic animal postures and much more. These capture the child’s attention and momentarily let them forget about their anxiety and worries.
- Weight management
Obesity in children presents a vicious cycle. Obese children tend to have low self-esteem. And in extreme conditions, they suffer from depression and anxiety. These, in turn, push the child to indulge in more poor eating habits that again worsen their obese condition. Kids yoga classes are less strenuous for the overweight child who feels ashamed of exercising with his peers at the sports grounds. They help them distract their mind from unhealthy habits and provide relation techniques, should the need to snack unnecessarily arise.
- Improves sleep
Every parent can relate to a night when their child had difficulties sleeping. I do. But when this routine happens more often, yoga comes in handy. Yoga Nidra, for example, is a form of yoga technique designed to help with sleep-related anxieties.
- Increases concentration
Stress can make a child forget to even brush their teeth! Yoga for kids helps by calming a child’s mind. By taking a child on an imaginative journey where they can imagine riding in a balloon, swimming with the dolphins, etc. they tend to have a calm mind and can concentrate better. A good instructor will go the extra mile to print pictures of the imaginative places they went to visit with the children.
The benefits of yoga for kids go beyond just coping with stress. Yoga enhances physical flexibility, self-discovery, body balance, better breathing among other significant benefits. Work with a reputable kids yoga instructor and do your part at home to make yoga as natural as possible.
How to Choose a Yoga Instructor for Your Child?
Yoga for kids is entirely different from yoga designed for adults. A good yoga instructor should be able to tailor the yoga lessons to suit your little one. Tick the following boxes as you shop around:
Does the teacher understand your child’s way of communicating?
The effectiveness of yoga lessons is enhanced when the instructor understands the gestures and anticipates the needs of your child.
Do they make the lessons lively?
A good yoga instructor will make use of the children’s high energy levels instead of suppressing them.
Has the teacher set clear boundaries?
Children tend to respect adults who are clear in their instructions. A good instructor will ensure that they have captured the attention of the child before giving directions.
Do they handle small classes?
A class size of fewer than 30 kids is ideal since the instructor can closely monitor the personal journey of each student.
Finally, attend a trial class with different instructors and compare their styles of teaching yoga. Watch your child’s reactions as you move from one instructor to the next. You will learn a lot.
How Can Parents Complement The Yoga Instructor’s Efforts At Home?
I normally set healthy patterns for my kids to help them continue with the meditation and other yoga practices every day. I believe that this practice will set them to continue with yoga even into their adulthood. You can make yoga a part of your daily life too.
- Focus on the fun – Carry out activities that your child enjoys. Don’t dwell on one activity for too long.
- Provide your child with the equipment they need – This can be as simple as just getting a mat for meditation or a comfortable pair of pajamas if you meditate before bedtime.
- Be easy and learn to let go – Yes. Children have a hard time learning in a military style class. Guide our kid to achieve their daily goal instead of emphasizing on perfection.
- Encourage imagination – Parents tend to be rigid and want to be realistic at all times. But when you are conducting yoga classes, you need to make use of your imagination to create a conducive environment for the child to relax.
Don’t wait until your child is overwhelmed with stress for you to take action. Immediately you notice a significant behavioral change, lend them a helping hand. Yoga for kids could be that helping hand. Book a kids yoga classes and be consistent and creative in teaching yoga at home as a coping strategy for your child. You will be amazed at the transformation.