Yoga and Mindfulness for children and Teens.
Children are not mini adults and so a children's yoga class is not going to look the same as an adults class.
There are a lot of things that are different, here are a few things we need to consider when teaching yoga to children that isn't about what activities to include.
Children's skeletal systems. An infant can have over 300 bones while an adult has 206. Children's bones are also softer and smaller and proportions are different.
Strength. As children are still developing there is a lot to consider around strength, bone mass, muscles and ligaments. Strength training in a natural way is important. For infants this is simply falling over and standing back up, for children it can be yoga, dancing or another movement practice.
Children's brains are still developing. Children learn with more ease if the lesson is fun and engaging. Learning and processing through play is important for children of all ages.
Growth spurts. Around ten years old is when growth hormones can really take over (it can happen younger or later). These hormone changes can effect the muscles, behaviour, centre of gravity/balance, sleep patterns, energy and motor skills.
The nervous system. The nervous system is still developing so taking time to breathe can be very important in helping a child's development. Breath awareness and proper diaphragm breathing is hugely beneficial.
Sweat glands. We don't develop sweat glands until puberty so children can be prone to overheating and dehydration. Encouraging water breaks, having the room at a comfortable temperature and taking rests during energetic times can all be very important factors in a class.
SEL (Social emotional learning). Exploring emotions, social skills, self-awareness and connection is a big part of children's yoga classes. In adults classes we may explore different themes but we are usually on our own mat for the most part doing our own thing. In children's classes there is much more emphasis on connection, interaction and creativity. In a children's yoga class everyone gets to know everyone, and everyone is seen and heard. We always teach in a circle, including the teacher to emphasise that we are all there together, and we are all important.
So there is a lot more to take into consideration than just what games to play or how to make classes fun.
Let me know if you found that helpful by commenting below!
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