Yoga and Mindfulness for children and Teens.
Yoga Hunts and Mindful Games - Easter fun with children
Easter is a great time to engage in fun and mindful activities with your child. Yoga and mindfulness games are a perfect way to celebrate this holiday while keeping children active and supporting their wellbeing. Here are some ideas for incorporating yoga and mindfulness into your Easter celebrations.
Create an Easter egg hunt with a twist by adding yoga poses to the mix. Write yoga poses on small pieces of paper and place them inside plastic eggs (if you have them already, if not let's be more environmentally friendly by just doing cardboard egg shapes! I promise, it works just as well!). Hide the eggs (or egg shapes) around your garden or home and have kids search for them. Once they find an egg, they must perform the yoga pose inside (or what is written on the shape). This is a fun way to get kids moving and practicing yoga while searching for eggs.
No time to plan? I have you covered! I have a free Yoga hunt pack available to print off (with some egg-cellent jokes may I add) available here:
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Mindfulness Games and practices
Another way to incorporate mindfulness into your Easter celebrations is by playing mindfulness games. One game that kids love is the "mindful breathing" game. Have kids sit in a circle and take turns holding a small object, like a stuffed animal or egg. Each child takes a deep breath, then passes the object to the next person in the circle. The intention is to focus on the breath and stay present in the moment.
Another fun mindfulness game is "mindful listening." Ask the children to close their eyes (or take a soft gaze down in front) and listen carefully to the sounds around them. After a few minutes of listening, have them share what they heard. What is the furthest away thing that they could hear? What was the closest thing? Could they hear their own breath? What about the person next to thems' breath? This is a great way to help kids tune into their senses and become more aware of their surroundings.
Don't wake the Easter Bunny!
One person lays in the middle of the room with a Easter egg beside them, this is the Easter Bunny. The bunny is guarding the egg but is very tired. Everyone else gathers in a circle at the edges of the room. As the ‘bunny’ sleeps, the children must sneak up to get the egg (this could be a real Easter egg which could then be a prize or just a pretend one. If the bunny hears any noise, he/she/they can wake up and scare everyone back to the start. If someone is successful in getting the egg without waking the bunny, the game can end here (and maybe they get to keep the egg, take it in turns to allow everyone to win one) or for something extra they have to get it to a certain spot before the bunny wakes and chases them. If they get caught, the game starts again. It’s fun to switch turns so that everyone can have a turn being the bunny.
Another fun mindful practice is taking a 'Rainbow Walk.' Take a walk out in nature or use this activity on a walk to school or the shops etc. It can be a fun way to walk mindfully. Look around and see if you can see something for each colour of the rainbow.
Can you see something that is red? Orange? Yellow? Green? Blue? Indigo? Violet?
With Easter eggs being in huge supply at Easter, how could we not take this time to mention a 'Chocolate meditation'?
This one is a lot of fun for kids and adults alike! Just be sure to choose a chocolate that is suitable for everyone you are practicing with (e.g. Nut free, vegan etc). If the children are comfortable with it, allow them to close their eyes. Then place a piece of chocolate into each person’s hand. Instruct them to feel the chocolate in their hands and smell it for a moment before they place it on to their tongue. When on their tongue ask them to bring attention to how it feels in their mouth. Can they feel what shape it is with their tongue? What tastes are they getting? Explain that there is no need to answer these questions out loud, rather just in their own heads and then you can have a discussion at the end. Now can they feel the chocolate start to melt? How does that taste? Where can they taste it? Allow this time mindfully having the chocolate with your prompts and when everyone is finished discussing how they felt about that practice. You may like to repeat and give no instruction, just allow them to experience it in their own way in quietness.
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Easter is a wonderful time to celebrate with family and friends. Incorporating yoga and mindfulness games into your celebrations can help kids stay active, focused, and mindful. By adding these ideas into your family traditions, you can create a fun and meaningful Easter experience for kids of all ages.
What is your child's favourite thing about Easter? Comment Below!
And don't forget to get your free Yoga hunt print out, this will help make Yoga fun and engaging for your child this holiday.
teach your child how to fill their cup with these 7 tips
What does the term ‘fill your cup’ mean?
Do you know at the end of a long day, where you’ve helped everyone with everything, and you just feel done? You’re ready to climb into bed, and feel like if one more person touches you or asks for anything, it is possible that you may go insane? This is when your cup is empty. You've been pouring from it all day, filling up everyone else’s cup but leaving nothing for yourself. Maybe someone will come along and fill it up for you, but quite often, you need to find ways to fill it back up yourself.
The same goes for our children. Their cups drain and empty just like ours, and while we try to fill it up for them, it is important that they know how to fill it up themselves too.
7 tips to help you teach your child to fill their cup
Tip #1 Start with self-awareness
Self-awareness is so important when it comes to practicing self-care. Without it, how will children know what their body and mind are trying to tell them? How will they know what care they need?
Read more about the importance of Self-awareness here.
A great place to start with self-awareness is to do a check in. I'll be posting a video for a simple, quick practice that you can do with your child to check in with the body, mind and breath. Look for this at the end of this post.
Tip #2 Notice how you fill your cup
What lessons are your children learning from you? How are you modelling self-care? How do you manage stress in front of them? It can help to talk through what you’re doing sometimes. Instead of just disappearing for 5 minutes because you need a break. Tell them you are feeling overwhelmed or stressed and just need to breathe for 5 minutes. Sometimes invite them to do this with you (when you have the headspace to do so, sometimes you really do just want them 5 minutes alone and that is okay too). Never blame them for the stress or say “You’re stressing me out so I need 5 minutes.” but just that you are feeling that way. Tell them what helps you when you do feel that way. Talk about what you enjoyed when you were a child with them.
What you do for self-care is probably not going to be what they do for self-care. They may try it out, but they are going to find their own path. Don’t force something because you like the way it makes you feel, just model it. It’s enough that you are showing that you have self-care practices, they’ll feel inspired to have their own, even if it’s something completely different.
Tip #3 Fill your cup together!
Just as we can fill our own cups or each other's cups, we can also fill our cups together! Do something your child loves with them, or something you both enjoy. Spend this time together, connecting and being really present. It could be reading, baking, rock climbing, going on a day trip or holiday, swimming - anything that lights you up and makes you feel good, peaceful or just simply present.
Tip #4 Saying No is self-care
Sometimes your child may not want to do something that you would like them to do or that someone else wants them to do. Listen to them when they say no and support their choice. Society has made it so we are so praised for being busy, and this has started to spill over on to our children. So many after school activities, family get togethers, homework and chores - sometimes it can get too much. Just like we need a break, so do they. Let them know that it’s okay to say no to something when they need a break. It’s not lazy or naughty - sometime’s it’s self-care.
Expression is a form of self-care. Quite often children are not asked their opinion on things enough. Expressing how they feel, even if it goes against what we think is ‘best’, is so important and we need to hold space for them to do that.
Tip #5 Make it a routine
How can you encourage them to make self-care part of their daily routines? How do you make it part of your routine? Is there something you do each night before bed or when you wake up in the morning? Self-care is so unique to all of us so it really is up to each individual person and family to see what works for them, but whatever that is, keep going with it.
Tip #6 Self-care isn’t always doing - sometimes it's nothing
Sometimes it’s not a plan or something scheduled, it’s just a rest where there is nothing to process or do, just rest. It can be as simple as laying down on the sofa or putting your head on a desk for a few moments.
Tip #7 Have fun!
Outside of schedules and plans, what does your child like to do that just makes them happy? What do they want to do more of? What absolutely lights them up? How can they do more of this?
Fun is something that is often underrated, when in fact it is so important - for children and adults!
How do they know what it is that brings them joy?
It comes back to tip number 1!
I’m sharing this with you today because I strongly believe that self-care is an essential tool to teach our children to support their wellbeing. Yoga is an amazing practice that can support your family with self-care practices. It can help with all of the 7 tips I shared here today, my favourite is that it can help your family to release stress and tension, calm the mind and actually allow you to enjoy rest.
Rest can feel so frustrating when your brain is telling you that you should be doing something or that you need to be busy or moving around. Yoga can help prepare your body and mind for rest and bring you into a state of calm that feels safe to rest in. It can get the wiggles out, not just in the body but in the mind too. Yes, I said it, your mind can be wriggly! So let's get the wiggles out and find a space where we can just be. This is how we can teach children to fill their cups.
I have shared 7 tips with you that will help your child to fill their cup and practice self-care. In this post we have looked at the importance of self-awareness, your own practices and habits as a parent, the importance of connection and spending time together, boundaries, routines, taking time when we need it and not as part of a schedule and also the benefits of having fun.
If you haven't already, check out the video about doing a 'check in' with your child below.
For more tips and practices that will help your child fill their cup, manage big emotions and have some fun, join the Amazing Me Yoga Community on Facebook >>
Supporting your family with Yoga and mindfulness
Other Blog posts of interest
Discovering Yourself: A Journey of Self-Awareness for Kids
This place gets crazy at the weekend, but the kids love it. They were jumping and playing for the whole hour, coming back to me with their little red faces, ready for a drink, when they were done.
As we are walking out, after the playing and after our food, my youngest stops, sits down and puts his hands in the soil of a plant pot at the bench.
Now we all want to get home at this point and in the past I could have been tempted to rush him along or tell him to stop, but I stopped with him to let him have this moment. He was completely present with the feel of the soil in his fingers, paying no attention to anything around him, not caring about what others would think. He was just at peace with the earth.
I know how when we go to places like this, no matter how much fun he has, the overstimulation is a lot for him to handle. It comes out after in all kinds of ways especially if we don’t take time to transition from one task or activity to the next. In this moment, he wasn’t just sticking his hands in the dirt for the sake of it, but because he was practicing self-regulation. He was grounding himself with this sensory experience.
He can do this with ease because we practice self-awareness.
Self-awareness is an important skill for children to cultivate as it allows them to understand their own thoughts, feelings, and motivations. It also helps them to recognize their strengths, weaknesses, and understand their own unique needs. When children are not self-aware, they can struggle to make decisions, cope with stress, and manage their emotions. This can lead to increased anxiety, stress, and feelings of helplessness.
Yoga can be an effective tool to help children become more self-aware. Yoga encourages children to focus on their breath, body, and emotions. It can help them to become mindful of their mental and physical states, allowing them to better understand and recognize their own patterns of thinking and feeling. Yoga can also teach children how to regulate their emotions, manage stress, and build resilience. In addition, yoga provides children with an opportunity to connect with the present moment and cultivate a sense of calm. All of these aspects of yoga can help children to become more self-aware and empowered to make decisions that are in their best interest.
Practicing mindfulness as a family can help promote self-awareness among family members and create an environment of understanding and support. Mindfulness helps individuals recognize their thoughts, feelings, and reactions to events in a non-judgmental way. By coming together as a family to practice mindfulness, you help create a safe space for children to express their feelings and learn from each other.
For example, take the story of the Baxter family. They all had busy lives with school, sports clubs, work etc, but after a suggestion from a friend, they decided to try mindfulness as a family. They started by spending some time each day sitting together in a comfortable, quiet space. Each person was encouraged to take a few moments to focus on their breath and observe their thoughts and feelings.
After just a few weeks, the Baxter family began to notice positive changes. They were more aware of their emotions and how they were affecting their actions. They could also better recognize how their behaviour was impacting each other. The family members also became more patient and understanding of each other's needs and feelings.
Overall, the Baxter family's life changed for the better. They were able to better communicate their emotions and needs to each other, leading to more connection and love. Mindfulness helped them become more self-aware and live more intentional lives.
This is possible for your family too.
A great family activity for cultivating self-awareness is to play a game of “I Spy.” Each family member can take turns describing something they see in the room, such as the colour of the furniture or the shape of a picture frame. As the game progresses, family members can get more creative and describe their feelings, likes, and dislikes about their surroundings. This game helps children and adults alike practice observing the environment around them and understanding how their words and feelings can affect their experience.
We have started practicing another version of this in the morning when waking up. We start out day with a big 'good morning' stretch. We take a slow breath. Then we then look around the room and name three things we like.
This is such a lovely way to wake up mindfully. Give it a try together this week!
Other posts of interest:
All Breath Work Children's Yoga And Mindfulness Christmas Emotional Well Being Emotional Well-being Intuition Meditations Parents Play Pose Of The Week Print Outs Self Care Challenge Summer Teachers Teenagers