There’s no denying it, it’s pretty challenging to be a kid these days. With the onslaught of social media and its distractions, temptations and tendency to overstimulate young brains, as well as peer and school pressure, it’s no wonder that our children are showing early signs of stress and stress-related challenges.
There’s an increase in both parents needing, or choosing, to work full time which often means young children start daycare earlier, resulting in increases in anxiety (separation anxiety) and stress. And there’s the issues of home stress – divorce, financial, work. Children absorb the stress of their parents and adults around them and bring it into the classroom and the playground.
Beth Borowsky, Founder of The Karma Class, educator, adult and kids yoga teacher and teacher trainer
believes that introducing kids to Yoga, Breath and Mindfulness from an early age, gives them tools – Life tools – to manage stress and challenging emotions. “These life tools build resilience and teach children how to use mindful breath, movement and mindfulness to return to a place of calm.”
Here she shares some ideas on how to help your children find their calm.
Mindful breathing or focusing on one’s breath helps to quickly alleviate stress, reduce anxiety and bring the body and mind into quiet balance.
All of our body’s functions, from digestion to creative thought, are influenced by the amount of oxygen we take in. Our breath is the only system in our body that we can consciously control. This is why it’s magical! When we cultivate conscious (and longer) inhale breaths, we increase the oxygen in our blood stream, which helps to alleviate tired muscles and brains. When we extend our exhales, we immediately switch on the relaxation response which instantly helps us to feel calmer.
The next time your child is in a reactive state, invite them to lie quietly on their backs and take some deep, slow belly breaths.
Yoga is a cost effective and fun way to bring children into their bodies, while cultivating strength and flexibility. When children have healthy body awareness, they feel more confident – both physically and
mentally – which encourages greater self esteem. Yoga also builds a better posture which is vitally important given how much time children spend hunched over desks and devices.
One of the most beautiful gifts we can give children today is the experience of being quiet, in both body and mind. By offering short experiences of quiet time and relaxation – through visualisations, mindfulness exercises, mindful walks, calming music – they begin to experience, and reap the benefits of, the practice of mindfulness and the beauty of being quiet inside. They learn wonderful tools to draw from when they feel stressed, anxious or upset.
Here are some ideas:
Read them a guided visualization
Go on a silent mindful walk
Colour in a mandala while listening to a soothing instrumental piece of music
Belonging to a community goes a long way in helping children to feel good about themselves.
Millennium Kids, offers a range of tools and training programs using a ‘Skills for Life” process where children engage in sustainability projects which require team work, critical thinking and creativity.
In an age where children are bombarded with media, technology and instant gratification, gifting them with opportunities to slow down and be quiet is vital for their mental and emotional health and wellbeing. It’s easier than you think, and the rewards are priceless!
Beth Borowsky holds a Masters in early childhood education, is a yoga teacher and teacher trainer. She is the founder of www.thekarmaclass.com.au and her workshop – A Calmer Classroom – teaches teachers how to bring calm into their classroom – inspired techniques that start in the classroom and last a lifetime.
Photo Courtesy: Rae Fallon