Introducing and teaching yoga to children is one of my favorite things to do. I love coming up with new and different ideas on how to actively and effectively engage children with yoga. I want them to learn, be engaged, and have fun. As I am fully aware, an adult yoga class is not like a kids yoga class. Adults do yoga for many different reasons including all of the mental and physical benefits. Kids on the other hand, will definitely receive these benefits, but in the beginning their main desire to learn and try some new things and above all to have fun!
Kids learn, and respond differently than adults and having an understanding of where children are coming from will give you an insight into how to reach them. I want more than anything for you to successfully introduce the wonderful world of yoga to children.
I know you have some pretty amazing ideas for introducing yoga and mindfulness to children! Nothing can be as disheartening as not the kids not responding or listening. Kids need yoga and mindfulness today. They need you!
Having a few techniques and strategies up your sleeve will help get and keep your students’ attention. Learn how to deal with a child that doesn’t listen.
Important Note: To help keep their effectiveness, please do not overuse one idea.
Use What You Have
Look around you! What in your surroundings do you have that you can use to your a
advantage to help get your students’ attention? I love utilizing the lights in my classroom and it works amazingly well to get everyone’s focused and ready for what we are doing next. A lot of times after a large group active movement or busy activity or game, I like to dim the lights which then automatically brings the energy back down. I also like to dim
the lights or turn them off for the beginning of our Building Community section of the class and definitely the Stillness and Savasana at the end.
I am also very fond of using the Whisper Technique. If you get quieter, they will get quieter as well. Try this. It really works with those younger ages.
Use Nonverbal Cues
Kids really respond well to nonverbal cues. It can be easy to tune out someone’s voice if you are hearing it for a long period of time. This is true for adults as well! Having a non-verbal cue that is age-appropriate is an easy and wonderful way to get your students’ attention. Raise your hands in a way such as peace fingers raised, hands in mudra, or hands-on head etc. when you want to get everyone’s attention. They will then follow suit when they see this action. I also love the fact that when children are doing something with their hands; they aren’t touching one another! This is a favorite way of how to deal with a child that doesn’t listen
My favorite! I love love love using props in my kids’ yoga classes to help get and keep students attention. Balls, puppets, scarves, bells, books, anything seasonal related and I am popping it into my kids’ yoga bag to take along to my classes. One item that I use every single class is The Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards. I select 4-6 poses that we are going to work on in class and they provide a wonderful visual for practicing and for games.
Keep in mind that yoga props can be things that you have at home. Preschool-aged kids respond well to stuffed animals whispering in your ear about what you are doing next while older kids enjoy anything that they can use for balance practice such a beanbags or puff balls for breathing games.
Ready for more?! Our online Kids Yoga and Mindfulness Online Teacher Training includes an entire training chapter focused completely on class management and how to deal with a child that doesn’t listen. After all, you have the amazing lesson plans and ideas so let’s be sure that the class is ready for them!