Everyone thrives on routine — especially your kids. But the ongoing pandemic means overhauling your usual routines over and over again.
If you’re feeling guilty for feeling stressed, know that you’re far from alone.2 out of 3 adults have experienced increased stress levels during the pandemic. And kids all over the world have shown an increase in anxiety levels, too.
Some kids make it clearer than others when they’re experiencing stress or anxiety. But others may have a hard time putting to words what they’re feeling, especially when they’re younger.
For many children, the symptoms of stress show up very much like ours: changes in sleep patterns and eating patterns, mood swings, and trouble focusing.
The last thing you want as a parent is for your kids to be stressed. You want your child to make new friends and accomplish new things — all things stress can get in the way of.
How do you help your child (and yourself) cope with the changing times?
It just might be time to try yoga for kids.
The Benefits of Yoga for Kids
Whether you’re a regular at the yoga studio or a first-timer to the activity, your kids can also benefit from time on the mat.
Yoga can help kids of all ages better regulate their emotions, and reap physical benefits like improving balance and flexibility.
Kids’ minds and bodies need many of the same things adults do: good nutrition, exercise, sunlight — all the good stuff that helps us feel happy.
That means many of the healthy ways we deal with stress can be helpful to them as well — including yoga.
Discover the full-body benefits of yoga for kids, and age-specific ways to get your kids into a yoga routine that can help bust stress for good.
Yoga Can Reduce Stress
Yoga helps kids learn how to deal with stress — both during their yoga practice, and when they’re facing stress in real time.
It teaches them how to find a sense of calm using breathing techniques when life gets a little crazy. It also teaches them a positive internal dialogue that can help them self-soothe when necessary.
Yoga Can Improve Focus
Yoga can help your children improve their focus. The same mindfulness skills that help children breathe through stress can also help them develop the ability to focus in their everyday tasks.
In a study by Cosmic Kids Yoga, a whopping 96% of teachers reported an improvement in focus by students who partook in the school’s yoga program.
Yoga Can Improve Balance and Flexibility
Physically, practicing yoga can help children gain better balance and more flexibility. This perk is a 2 for 1 deal, as it can help kids improve their game in sports and experience a lower risk of injury.
Yoga Can Boost Their Immunity
Lately, you’ve had to become hyper aware of your child’s immune systems by making sure they wash their hands, wear their masks, and eat healthy.
It turns out yoga can help support you in those efforts. Research shows yoga helps reduce inflammation, which can help the body better respond to viruses and vaccinations.
As if that isn’t enough, yoga can also help with the following:
- Sleep cycles
- Self confidence
- Improved memory
- Healthy hearts
- Bowel regulation
If you weren’t convinced before, we hope you’re ready to help your kids enjoy the joys of yoga now!
How to Build a Kids Yoga Practice
Our next step is to make sure you have all the tools you need to get them as excited about it as you are.
The nice thing about teaching your children yoga is that many of the methods allow for plenty of age flexibility, so you can adjust your activities accordingly.
With a few apps and a good plan, you can help family members of any age enjoy yoga and reap the rewards of it.
Yoga for Toddlers and Preschoolers
The key to making sure younger kids reap the full benefits of yoga is making it fun. We know — that’s easier said than done with little ones.
Luckily there are plenty of tips and resources out there to help you with the process.
To introduce the concept of yoga to your preschooler, first incorporate it into play. For example, you can act out some of their favorite characters in books and movies.
If they love animal characters, do moves together to mimic the animals, like walking on all fours or pretending to swim. This helps teach them that movement that’s fun and feels great, and preps them for more fun motion in yoga.
Next, create a “calm down” space just for them.
Even if it’s just a pillow by a window or a fort in their room, let them know that this is their special thinking spot. Include a comforting item and maybe a yoga mat of their own, especially if they’ve watched you do yoga before.
Once they have a space, do some breathing exercises with them. Teach them how to inhale by having them smell a fresh flower or relaxing candle. Teach them how to exhale by showing them how to blow out that candle, or blow a feather around on the floor.
Now, they’re ready to try some yoga moves!
You can get some ideas for what moves to use by watching a fun animated yoga video together, like the kids yoga series by Cosmic Kids that does classes featuring everything from farm animal yoga to Elsa-themed yoga.
Yoga for Elementary Schoolers
To keep your elementary aged kids engaged in yoga, you’ll need to first allow them to wiggle around a bit. There’s nothing like trying to get a kid to sit still when they have the wiggles!
Do a few exercises, like jumping jacks and body shakes to help get them in the zone.
Once they’re ready to move on, show them a few basic yoga moves like downward dog, mountain pose, and child’s pose.
After they’ve learned the moves, break up the lesson with a fun game or song. Try “Yogi says,” where you call out each of the yoga moves and have the kids complete them only upon hearing “yogi says” first.
Keep doing this for as long as they stay occupied. Depending on their age and development, they’ll be able to enjoy yoga and yoga activities for around 20 min to an hour (eventually).
For more yoga games and songs, check out GoGo Yoga for Kids. They have full lesson plans prepped!
A little too busy to teach them each time? If you’re in a pinch, there are plenty of fun videos to put on for them as well, like Yoga for Kids on the Fightmasters Yoga channel.
Yoga for Tweens & Teens
Middle and high school is tough for your kids. Everything seems to be changing so fast, and it can be hard to adjust. The last thing you want is to stress out your preteen or teen even more by pushing another activity onto them.
That’s why when it comes to introducing a new healthy habit, it’s important to first level with them. Let them know you’ve noticed they seem stressed, and that you think yoga could be a great way for you both to improve your health.
Highlight some of the benefits of yoga, and have a conversation to determine if yoga is a tool they’d like to have in their toolbox of coping skills.
If they seem interested, try it out with them!
Yoga with Adrienne is the perfect go-to for preteens and teens alike. Adrienne is a Youtube celebrity, which in and of itself appeals to Gen Z.
She begins each session with a fun, conversational chat that doesn’t talk down to your preteen. It doesn’t hurt that her cute dog Keni makes appearances, too!
Adrienne has countless videos, so if you enjoy the first couple of episodes, you watch this may become a tradition!
More Ways to Teach Kids Mindfulness
Creating new healthy habits with your kids isn't always easy. It can take a lot of practice and patience.
But when it comes to cutting back on stress for introducing a yoga routine can be well worth it you and your family.
Once you have your yoga skills down, you can move on to showing your kids other ways to practice gratitude and mindful action.
One great way to do both is by helping protect the environment. Environmentalism is showing thanks to the earth and nature around us by helping to take care of it.
What better way to show the environment some love than with sustainability?
We put together a guide to help you and your family become sustainability pros this year. Learn easy ways to live more sustainably in 2021 >