Yoga is long proven to be a science with thousands of practical, medical and learning benefits and this articles is about how to teach your child yoga to improve learning.
Yoga can be as relaxing and beneficial for our children as it is for us; and what’s better is it can be a good teaching/learning activity you and your child do together. Perhaps you’re wondering if your child will stay still or be able to remain quiet enough to allow themselves the chance to relax and learn. The good news is that there are specifically designed poses for children that you can easily teach them yourself. By following a few of the simple teaching guidelines below, you and your child can better prepare for your fitness learning experience.
Here are just a few of the learning benefits that yoga has shown:
Learning efficiency improves
Social skills increases
Somatic and kinesthetic awareness increase
1. Make yoga fun to improve learning
When it comes to teaching exercise routines to children, pick some of the easier poses or flexes, give them a cute name, and demonstrate that pose to your child. Almost any pose can be simplified for a young child, enabling you to exercise together without frustration. There are many online tutorials, with pictures of simplified poses that you can teach your child to do.
2. Keep their attention and fitness level in mind.
There really is no age limit (beyond a toddler) as to when to start your child’s yoga sessions, however, children under six can usually do exercises that last for about one minute, with their session ending by the 15 minute mark. Obviously, younger children have shorter attention spans when it comes to instruction, so try and make it as lively as expressive as possible for them. Have them mimic your actions to start and maintain a happy, lively expression so that they can understand that fitness is a fun learning experience. Children over 6 can handle exercises that last up to 1 ½ minutes, with sessions maxing out around 25 minutes.
3. Try not to push too hard for perfection.
Remember that they are kids learning these yoga poses for the first time. Encourage them to breathe correctly and follow the pose the best that they can.
4. Let them learn by observation.
Always try to demonstrate the exercise before having your child attempt it. They will grasp the pose with the visual demonstration much faster than just telling them what the pose is supposed to look like. Playing follow the leader is a great way to do this. This can be a really good way to teach critical learning by observation skills at a very young age.
5. Offer your child lots of breaks.
Adults need breaks after strenuous exercise, so be aware of the cues your child gives you to signal they have had enough. This can also help maintain their motivation to learn new fitness routines over time. Remember – keep learning fitness a fun and enjoyable experience.
6. No one should have tummies that are too full
When attempting yoga poses, just as in any exercise, make sure that tummies are not too full. Perhaps offering the lesson before lunch could ensure they will feel their best while exercising.
7. Don’t compare children to each other or to yourself.
They will hopefully do the best they can to learn poses as accurately as possible, but if not, turning it into a competition will ultimately defeat the purpose of learning fitness routines. Think of how young competitors in other sports often aren’t told the score of their games until they reach the age of eight or nine. The same concept applies – keep it fun and noncompetitive.
8. Use descriptive language.
Turning the yoga lesson into a storyline that can be fun and interactive as they try to stretch and use their imagination to to progress through an imaginary jungle or forest. This can help stretch your child’s creativity as well as well as their muscles.
9. Praise your child for a job well done.
Let your child show you how they are learning the yoga poses, offering them positive feedback so they will be encouraged to continue learning and practicing.
There are some pretty neat benefits of learning yoga at an early age. In addition to teaching critical learning skills, it can help promote health, improve concentration and calmness, boost self-esteem, and help children deal with stressful situations or difficult emotions. So roll out the mats and find some simple and fun routines that you and your child can do together.
Christina Stoltz is a fitness instructor and wwner of Philadelphia Pilates studio named Ploome. She is a frequent author and speaker on all things fitness as well as how to teach your child yoga to improve learning.
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