Yoga and Mindfulness for children.
8 Family Yoga activities to help parents and children practice together
Staying calm for the outside world and staying calm when your guard is down at home and the stress is piling on top of you, is another thing all together. A huge reason I practice Yoga is to help me manage stress and anxiety. When I stay on top of my practices I just feel better. I am more able to manage stress, not just in the public eye but at home too.
This means less shouting at the kids, because they absolutely don't deserve that, which means less mum guilt and much more connection. It's tough though, those moments when you get so overstimulated and there is just so much noise. The thing is, to be a connected parent, we don't need to be perfect. We can do our best and we keep doing our best and that is enough. We all want the best for our children and those reading will have a keen interest in mental and emotional well-being. This is all going to help your child to thrive.
Helping your child to thrive
Helping your child to thrive sounds like something to take seriously.... but what if it could actually be quite playful? In this blog post I want to share with you 8 fun practices that you can do with your child that will help them to let go of stress, build self-awareness and build connection between you both.
Connection is what Amazing Me Yoga is all about. It can be so easy to get into our stress filled bubbles and avoid each other. Self-care is not something I've been naturally good at, it didn't come easy to find my flow with it. In fact what I considered self-care was usually ways to disconnect, which is nice sometimes but is it really self-care?
This is why I want to introduce the concept of together-care. Together care is a way that we can practice caring for our well-being - together. Now self-care is still essential, but by taking time to practice together as well will mean your child will be able to learn these tools from a young age. The best way of learning for children (and actually for grown-ups too I'd say) is through play!
Time together playing yoga games and practicing mindful activities together, is time well spent. Check out the 8 fun practices for you and your child. Perfect for some one to one time or some sibling bonding.
1. Booger Breath
Imagine you have a big booger in your nose and you need to get it out with out using your hands so you try and blow it out. Now imagine you have hundreds of boogers up there! Let’s practice the same thing but this time we want to blow loads of them out one at a time. We are going to do this by taking one long breath in through our nose and then lots of short little blows out of the nose to try get rid of those boogers! Keep going for as long as you can, until you need to take another breath, then we can try again!
2. Pack a Space Picnic
This game is a lot of fun and is also good for developing memory function. You could use yoga poses and movements for each thing said or play without.
The first person starts by saying “i went to space and I bought with me a ________________”. They say what they bought to space with them for their space picnic. It could be asteroid bites, a jam sandwich or a blanket.
Anything they can think to bring. For this example let’s say a blanket.
The second person then says “I went to space and I bought with me a blanket and a (New thing added here).”
This can work with just the two of you playing going back and forth or in a very large group! Each time the person who’s turn it is repeats everything said so far and then adds their new thing at the end. You can play this for as long as you can remember everything or as long as it is fun for!
3. Magical Creatures
This is a game where you can use visual props such as yoga cards or stuffed animals or even pictures from a book. You could even just use your imagination. The idea is that you both think of an animal pose (such as downward facing dog, cat pose or just one that’s completely made up). You show the other person your pose and say what animal it is. Then you create a magical creature inspired by both of those poses to create a very unique pose. This could be done on your own or it becomes a partner pose (could also work with a three). You could come up with a dragon dog pose, or a cow horse pose. Have fun and create something new together.
4. Turbulent Massage
Start on all fours with your hands on the mat, shoulder-width apart and your knees directly under your hips. Your child can then lie on top of you, facing up towards the ceiling, with their lower back resting on your low back/bottom and their head nestled between your shoulder blades. Take a deep breath in and feel the connection between you and your child. They let their arms relax and surrender into your support. It can be helpful to have a third person helping them into position if possible. Then start moving between cat and cow pose gently to create the turbulent massage.
5. Roll The Yoga Dice
For this game you will need to decide on six poses you would like to practice. Assign one pose for each number off the dice. Everyone takes turns in rolling the dice. Whichever number it lands on, you see which pose is assigned to that number and then everyone practices it together.
6. Love it or Leave it
Your child starts in a star pose, (standing in a wide legged stance with arms open wide). You call out different objects/ animals/ foods etc. If the child loves what you have called out, they wrap their arms around themselves to give themselves a big hug. If they don’t like it, they can come down into a forward fold. If they are undecided or are in between they can come into a chair pose.
You can always change the poses around to practice different poses if preferred too, decide together at the start of the game. Some examples of words you can call out are: Sunshine, swimming in the sea, making sandcastles, sand in your shoes, jellyfish, crabs, ice-cream, chips, chocolate, broccoli, wet socks etc. The possibilities are endless.
7. Heart Filled With Love
Sit comfortably facing each other with eyes closed or making eye contact.
8. Yoga Jenga
This is a favourite of my children and of my students. I took a Jenga set (or similar stacking wooden blocks game) and I wrote poses and breathing practices on the blocks, leaving a few of them blank. We take turns removing a block and placing it on the top of the tower, like the usual rules of the game except if the block has writing on it then we follow that instruction all together after it gets placed on the tower. For example "Take 5 breaths" we all take 5 breaths, or "Cobra pose" we all practice Cobra pose. The game keeps going until the tower tumbles, and then sometimes we'll even play again. Once we have finished we usually have a moment just building our own creations with the blocks. This is a great mindful activity that helps children to be calm and present, and can help if you want to transition into a relaxation to finish your yoga time together.
Which game will you be playing?
There you have it! 8 games you can practice with your child at home (or even your students if any teachers are reading). The most important thing is to have fun with it, be present and focus on that connection. Comment below and let me know which game you will be playing!
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