Kids yoga classes are very different than adult yoga classes. Teaching children yoga is a very rewarding adventure, but not for everyone, if the teachers heart is not into it, the kids know right away. I have several yoga instructor friends that have tried teaching children yoga, and were completely exhausted and frustrated after class, they said they would never do it again. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when teaching children yoga, whether it is in the classroom, a studio environment or just in your neighborhood.
1. Come up with a plan. Using a theme in your class to explain to the children what the purpose of class is essential. Think of this as setting your intention before your own yoga practice.
2. Be flexible. Not in a bendy twisty type of way, remember just like your day changes everyday, so do the children’s. The kids may be tired, and you planned a very energetic class, change it. If your plan is not working, know that you can change it, but stay with the same theme, to avoid confusion.
3. Be age appropriate. A 3 year old yoga class is going to be different then a 9 year old yoga class. Their learning styles and maturity levels are different, they like different things. A 3 year old, may like to bark in downward dog, a 9 year old, may think that barking in down dog is babyish. Do your homework, know what your kids like.
4. Encourage questions. Kids love to talk, encourage it by asking questions in class, but with one person answering at a time, I use a sharing stone. When it’s somebodies turn to speak, the person with the stone is the only one talking, and all eyes and ears go to the person holding the stone. Ask questions about the theme you picked, ask them how their bodies feel after a pose, or learning a new breath. It’s always great to hear the feedback, and sometimes you will be surprised what they come up with, you may even learn something new.
5. Have fun! Most importantly have fun with your kids, if you are not having fun, they are probably not having any fun either. Play a game before Lazy Lizard pose, do partner poses, to encourage kids to work together, bring in fun props that go along with your theme. You can buy your props, or use things around your home, or in nature. I brought rocks one day to class, and the kids loved it, it was like they never saw a rock before.
Using these 5 tips in your kids yoga class, will make class fun and rewarding for all involved, whether you are a kids yoga teacher, a kids educator, a Mom, Grand mom, or neighbor. Oh, and don’t forget your Lazy Lizards Yoga Mat!