Kid’s Yoga: 10 Rules for Getting My Kids to Try Yoga
The benefits of Yoga are well known… the problem? Doing it! Especially when it comes to our kids. And Kid’s Yoga is a unique challenge!
It always sounds like such a good idea, until… well, until it’s not. Is it still beneficial if it is forced? Just like in Yoga, there is a balance that is needed. If you can get some structure set up (because whether we like it or not, kids love structure), some basic rules and learn a little flexibility (see what I did there?), Yoga can become a welcome part of your at-home schedule.
Here are the 10 rules I follow when trying to get my children to do Yoga with me at home:
- Let go of how I THINK it should go. This is probably a rule I need to apply to most things in my life, and especially most things in parenthood. I’ve learned overall very few things turn out how I pinterest-pictured them. Let the goal remain the same, but the approach is flexible. You want to show them how to enjoy Yoga, and sometimes, we all enjoy it for different reasons. Keep an open mind.
- Keep it short and simple. The rule of thumb for attention span is 1 minute per 1 year of age. So, are you trying to teach your 3-year-old how to do Down Dog? Great! But stop there. If you go too long, you’ll lose them… and may even make them not want to do it at all next time!
- Laugh and play. This goes for all ages, but especially Kid’s Yoga. Giggle and don’t take anything too seriously! Have you seen some of the names of the poses for Kid’s Yoga?! (Also, sidenote: in regards to the names of poses… there’s no Yoga police out there who will tell you that you can’t call Down Dog the name of your own beloved pup, or some other silly name. Let this be relatable! Use the names for the poses that the kids like, and laugh at.)
- Let them lead. Often I will teach a pose and then ask “What would you do next?” It lets everyone feel involved and teaches the kids to tune into their own body’s movements. And what little one doesn’t love being in charge?
- Keep trying…within reason. Consistency does amazing things. The more we explore Yoga, the more they seem to like it. But guess what? Some days they don’t. On the days we aren’t feeling it, we don’t force it. Know when to try and when to give space. We want to let it be a love, not an obligation.
- Be an example. Have you noticed how much our children watch us? If you find that introducing them to Yoga isn’t working, spend time on your own practice. Let them see you do it and share why you love it.
- Remember it’s not always about the physical practice. Yoga also teaches us valuable life lessons and values. Learning about how to care for oneself and be kind to others, among other lessons, are important parts of the Yoga practice- even for kids! For your kids, this may be as simple as getting your undivided attention and connecting. Maybe some days your at-home Kid’s Yoga is simply a Three Breath Hug.
- Be okay with repetition. If your yogi decides Happy Baby is her jam, let her do it! Of course, don’t shy away from introducing other poses, but if you find one is the favorite, be flexible and okay with repetitive practice. Kids like familiar things, just like we do.
- Change up where you practice. This may go against the idea of consistency, but I find that changing up the location lets us become less rigid in the idea of yoga, making it more accessible. Tree pose at the park? Yeah! Airplane on the beach? Yep! Do it.
- Yoga is not about making the body fit into a shape. It is about making the shape fit the body. Every pose will look different in every body. How important it is to remember this as we share our love for Yoga with the next generation. Teach to feel the poses, rather than simply imitate. This is how we make Yoga special and individual.
Enjoy this time and experience with your littles. Sharing the joy of something you love will be something they won’t soon forget! And who knows? Maybe you may feel better after your practice too?
If you are looking for a map and plan to get you started, check out our interactive workbook and program here! This course guides you through 30 days of poses to do with your yogi, and adds a fun element of a new question each day. This can give you time to connect, laugh, play and learn more about each other.
Now, I’d love to hear from you! What are some tricks you’ve used to with your at-home Kid’s Yoga practice? What works?