Manage back-to-school exhaustion and pandemic anxiety with grace.
Here are simple techniques to help us all get back on track using meditation from our friends at LoveHero.
Is it possible that we’ve all forgotten how tiring the first week of school or just visiting the office after being away for so long, really is? The 18-month long new normal’s transition back to the old and connecting with classmates and co-workers in real life has been much harder than expected for some of us. You are not alone.
1. Start with movement
For most young kids, attempting to sit in meditation without any exercise first will be a challenge. Kids understand energy. And, energy can be used as a vehicle to meditate. Start with 5-10 minutes of energetic exercises such as jumping jacks, scissor jumps or running in-place.
2. Use positive language
While exercising, maintain a positive attitude that will get kids thinking about their ability to monitor their emotions and tune into positive feelings. Affirmations such as “I am positive!” work great for this.
3. Use breathing to channel the energy
The next step is to start slowing down the intensity of the exercises and to start replacing them with breathing. Breathe with your belly holding the breath longer and making the inhales and exhales deeper each time.
4. Sit down, breathe and focus on the heart
The other thing that kids understand well is positive emotions. In a sitting position do a few more rounds of breathing, but this time, with the hands on the heart, imagine this energy you’ve built up turning into rays of green light that are shooting from the heart.
5. Become a hero
What good is love if you don’t share it? Kids love being heroes. Use the light shooting from your heart to send love to someone or something that might need it. It can be a group of people (frontline healthcare workers), a person you love, a pet or a plant. Become a hero using your heart to uplift others.
6. Sit in stillness
Finally, sit in silence and stillness for 30 seconds or longer if you can. It helps to play soothing music at this point. Each child is different, so start small and build your way up.
As parents, it can be difficult to keep kids engaged during school closures and breaks. In-home lessons can help children stay busy, even when it is not possible to physically be at a camp or class. Virtual learning can also benefit children who are seeking advanced instruction that may not be available near you. (Also see: Online Classes for Kids: Tips for Success)
Live, Interactive Classes vs. YouTube
In a live online class, the instructor and students meet on Zoom or another interactive system and can see each other. Students are able to ask questions and can follow along in the class. A live class meets at a specific time, so it’s important to note the time zone of the class. Scheduling live classes can be beneficial for staying on a routine during school closures.
Live online classes are also an opportunity to schedule virtual playdates with friends or classmates. During this time of social distancing, it can be fun for kids to connect with their friends while doing something fun online.
Recorded online courses may be found on YouTube or other educational websites and can be watched at any time. These types of online lessons can be helpful if need a quick option. The most common types of pre-recorded online classes are movement – kids dance or zumba.
Online Art Classes for Kids
Art is a very popular online class for kids of all ages. Most art classes use materials you would normally already have at your house – pencil, paper, old magazines or paint. Live art classes provide time to ask questions or spotlight finished art projects.
Family favorites include: CD’s Art Studio: Draw a different subject every week – previous classes included baby raccoons, penguins and even a hedgehog. Art & Soul: Small group, highly interactive sessions through an online Art Club. Young Art: Select from a variety of lessons in all kinds of art media, including clay sculpture, animation, acrylic painting, and pencil sketching. Artist Center: The online classroom is a State of the Art Program using “The Masters” techniques. KidztoPros: Variety of creative art programs including anime, graphic design, architecture art design and more.
From beginner level Scratch to more advanced Python, find online coding and gaming camps for kids of all ages. Introducing a child to programming languages could be either a building block for a career or an entertaining option for your young gamer. Not sure where to start? Get expert tips on picking the right coding camp to fit your child.
Set aside some time to burn off all that extra energy from being stuck at home. Movement and exercise can help support children’s mental and physical well-being during this challenging time. Online sports and fitness camps include skills and fun games that kids can do from the safety of their own home, backyard, garage or patio. Family favorites include martial arts, yoga, dance, virtual recess and more.
Popular LEGO® camp curriculums have been adapted for online learning so that your child can make their screen time count with engaging and entertaining STEAM enrichment. Build with LEGO® in themes of cities, robots, superheroes and more.
ActivityHero LIVE offers a free, daily series of live, interactive classes for kids. These classes are made possible by teachers who want to help families while school is out with classes in art, music, business, medicine, cooking, LEGO®, fitness and more. They are also small businesses who have lost income due to COVID-19.
Yoga can be as relaxing and beneficial for our children as it is for us; and what’s better is it can be an activity you and your child do together.
Perhaps you’re wondering if your child will stay still, or even be able to remain quiet enough to allow themselves to relax. The good news is that there are specifically designed poses for children that you can easily teach them.
By following a few of the simple guidelines below, you and your child can prepare for a joyous and relaxing yoga experience together.
1. There really is no age limit (beyond toddler) as to when to start yoga for kids, however, children under six can usually do exercises that last for about one minute, with their session ending by the 15 minute mark.
2. 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 poses for the first time. Encourage them to breathe correctly and follow the pose the best that they can.
4. 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.
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.
6. No one should have tummies that are too full when attempting yoga poses. 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 the poses as accurately as possible, but if not, turning it into a competition will ultimately defeat the purpose of learning yoga for kids.
8. Use descriptive language; turning the lesson into a storyline that can be fun and interactive as they try to stretch and lean a certain way to progress through the jungle or forest.
9. 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.
10. When teaching the poses to your child, pick some of the easier ones, give them a cute name, and demonstrate that pose to your child before asking them to do it themselves. Almost any pose can be simplified for a young child, enabling you to exercise together without frustration.
There are some neat benefits of yoga for kids learning at an early age. It can help promote flexibility and a health, improve concentration and calmness, boost self-esteem, and help children deal with difficult emotions.
So roll out the mats and enjoy a stress-relieving exercise that you and your child can do together!
About the Author
Christina Stoltz is a fitness instructor and Owner of Philadelphia Pilates studio named Ploome. She is a frequent author and speaker on all things fitness.