Kids Yoga and Back to School

As children head back to school or start to become more settled, Kids yoga teachers, classroom teachers,  or after school caregivers have a great opportunity to help ease the anxiety, stress, or exhaustion of their students. Here are a few quick tips I hope will help support the children in your community.

As a Classroom Teacher or Child-Focused Professional:

Have Fun Breaks – break tension and stress with smiles and laughs. This could be silly songs, a joke or two, or other ways to encourage students to keep the fun in the classroom.  Equally as important, is to take time out during the day/session for quiet – This is not meant to be time reading, working, or studying. This is simply time to be quiet, all parts of the student, including their brain. Suggest laying heads down on the desk, guided relaxation scripts or meditation, savasana on the floor, or simply some calming music and dimmed lights. Try a few different ideas to find what works best for the students in your care. I great CD I like is Kira Willey - Mindful Moments for Kids.

To read more about Mindfulness for Teachers check out this reading (http://www.pbs.org/thebuddha/teachers-guide/) from Dr. Amy Saltzman, she has some Audio CDs.

 "1-2-3 Make a rock like me" - Take a few deep breaths, remember "rocks do not talk" 

"1-2-3 Make a rock like me" - Take a few deep breaths, remember "rocks do not talk" 

Encourage movement – have students stand and go through a modified Sun Salutation (I plan to make a few kids videos soon, but in the meantime -Here is one that will work for preschool and early elementary students) or other sequence you feel appropriate for the age and abilities of your students. Consider teaching them some chair yoga as well, so they may move in their chair in a way you consider acceptable, and non-distracting to other students. 

Allow them to move in this way during times of study throughout the day. Utilize breath work in the classroom – before beginning the next activity encourage intentional breath, maybe one that corresponds with that activity, and have them do that breath every time they do that activity. (Example: Always before a spelling test, we perform 5-count breath together). 

Here are some other ideas from an Article from Mind, Body, Green (http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-1308/Back-to-School-Yoga.html)

As a Kids Yoga Teacher:

Use school as an upcoming theme for your class. Here is a link to a FREE Lesson Plan you may try! 

Give students more time to decompress before beginning class (especially those coming straight from a day at school, understand
they may want to MOVE before they are ready to sit and relax).

Allow more time for reflection and relaxation at the end of class. Back to school can be a tiring time mentally and physically. Be sure
to provide a comforting environment where they feel safe and accepted.

Host a Back to School night with fun yoga poses for the whole family! Encourage parents to learn together with their child breathing/calming strategies for rushed school mornings or nights of homework and stress.

What other ideas do you have to help support the youth of your community as they head back to school? I would love to hear from you!