Updated: Jul 17, 2020
Don't worry, I'm not going to lecture you on how important it is to 'keep active at home'. Nor am I going to overwhelm you with '1001 ideas' for keeping kids active. We all know that you only have to do a quick Pinterest search and you could have a new of way of getting active for each day of your whole life!
I'm going to explain why I think that practising something like yoga consistently might be a better option or at least beneficial alongside other one-off ideas.
When something happens that affects me but is out of my control, I find it comforting to put myself in control of something else. Maybe it restores some kind of balance in my life, maybe it's my own way of restoring order and dealing with the emotions that are thrown up by whatever has happened, I don't know.
As running has not been an option recently because of lockdown, I have been doing Yoga each day instead for between 20-50 minutes. Sometimes I split the time and do 20 minutes in the morning before I start working and another 20 or 30 minutes later on after I've been hunched over the computer for a few hours.
Why is Yoga Good for Kids?
Kids doing Yoga regularly will quickly start to see progress as they come across poses again and again and find that they can reach a bit further, hold it a bit longer or maybe just that they can do it at all!
You'll save time and effort that you might have spent doing internet searches, getting whatever equipment set up and explaining it to the kids.
It's flexible enough to suit any child. Kids can do anything from just one pose for a quick two-minute break all the way up to a 45-60 minute session for older children.
I always thought that Yoga was only for 'flexible people'. Nope. Anyone can do Yoga because of the range of poses and the different ways that poses can be altered to make them harder or easier.
You also don't need any special equipment or much space - just enough floor space to lie down in.
Ignore the posts you've seen on Instagram of people doing insane twists and impossible positions - 97% of yoga for normal people isn't that. And the cool part is that when you do eventually come across some trickier poses (or poses that build up to them) and you can actually do them you feel like a superhero. And what child doesn't like feeling like a superhero?
'Daily' doesn't have to mean religiously sticking to it every single day. In a week I'd say I probably do it 5 or 6 days but it all depends on you. Teach your child that they should listen to their body and rest if they feel they need it.
Of course, yoga won't be for every child but you don't know unless you try!
OK, OK, but how do I get them into this?
You could give it a cooler name for a start. Yoga is way too grown up and boring sounding even for most adults. Call it Bend and Stretch, call it Super Moves, call it whatever gets them interested. You could even get your kids to come up with a better name themselves. Or just be really vague about it and just call it 'exercise'.
Model it yourself. Yep. Start doing it yourself and they'll soon be fascinated and start copying you. Kids might even prefer to continue following along with Mum or Dad instead of someone on a screen.
Get the challenge level right - this is very important and doesn't just apply to Yoga. For children to get into Flow, where they are fully absorbed, enjoying themselves and performing at their best, the level of challenge should be just right for them. Too difficult and they will feel frustrated, too easy and they will feel bored. Neither of these feelings will motivate them to continue.
Also don't forget that as they improve their skills, you'll need to increase the difficulty to keep them engaged!
Yoga for Kids on Youtube
Jaime will take your child on a Yoga adventure where she keeps them engaged with a story whilst showing the poses that your child follows along with. There's something for every child whether they love Frozen, pirates or We're Going On A Bear Hunt! (Seriously, they have 464 videos as I write this)
Best app for Yoga at Home
FREE until January 2021
Down Dog is an app that you can also access on the browser. It's usually paid but due to the outbreak Down Dog are offering their subscription free for students and teachers until July 1st. Never one to turn down something for free, I took them up on their offer and will be continuing with it even after the free period expires.
As you can see there are so many options for your practice and there's enough to do something different each day even without changing your settings. There's really cool music (The alt-beats option) and there are nature sounds. I love it and I can't recommend it enough. Check out Down Dog's current offer here.
*UPDATE: Down Dog is available for free for Students until January 2021*
I'd love to hear about your home learning experience and answer questions you might have. You can contact me here 🌈