Whether in-person, online, hybrid, or homeschool, back-to-school this year looks a bit different from what we’re all used to. This change in routine can create added stress for both parents and kids, therefore, I’ve compiled a list of helpful tips to recenter, reactivate, and recharge our bodies and minds. Feel free to practice them with your child to create a sense of calm.
Take Two. Inspired by Giselle from Kids Yoga Stories, take two minutes at the beginning of each day to sit in total silence. Starting the school day with 2 minutes of silence is a great way to bring focus, attention, and calm to your learning space.
To practice, have your child settle comfortably into a seated position with their hands in their lap. Have them softly close their eyes. You can play soft music or just sit quietly listening to the sounds around you. Set a timer for two minutes. At first, they’ll fidget, move around, and talk. Just keep reminding them in a calming voice to stay quiet and still. Eventually, they’ll understand and see the value in having a few moments of quiet. When finished have them observe how they feel.
Breathe Baby. After a few hours in front of a computer screen or behind a face mask, our bodies can begin to feel a bit lethargic and out of sorts. Breathwork exercises enable us to consciously control our breathing in order to influence our mental, emotional or physical state. Here are a few to try:
- Rainbow Breath. Have your child draw a big rainbow on a piece of paper. Next, have them trace the first color of the rainbow with their index finger, taking in a deep breath as they rise and fall with the curve. Once they get to the other side, have them exhale and trace their way back. Repeat with the next colors.
- Candle Breath. Have your child sit with their index fingers in front of their mouth. Have them take a deep breath in. On the exhale have them “blow the candles” their fingers spreading them out wide to the side. Repeat 3–5 times.
- Star Breath. Have your child hold their hand out in front of them like they’re giving someone a high 5. Next, have them take the index finger of their other hand and trace each finger, inhaling as they trace up each finger and exhaling as they go down. Repeat the up and down, inhale and exhale motion for all 5 fingers. Do both hands for extra credit.
Brain Breaks. When shifting from one subject to the next, have your child get up and move around. One activity that I enjoy is “Count Down.” Have your child stand up and starting with their right arm shake it 10 times counting down backwards from 10. Move to the left arm. Then, the right leg. Then, the left leg. Repeat for all numbers and limbs going faster and faster until you get to 1.
Sun Salute. Sun salutations are a great way to energizes the body, improving circulation and the flow of oxygen throughout the body. To practice a simple version, start in a standing position. Take a deep breath in, lifting your arms up over your head. As you breathe out, fold your body forward bringing your hands down to the floor. Slowly come back to a standing position.
Laura Kowalski is owner and founder of Hop Along Yogi Kids Yoga. She teaches weekly, “live-online” classes, utilizing a flexible pay model to make classes more accessible to all. Visit www.hopalongyogi.com for more information.