When your kids are on the verge of a meltdown, you might have a number of solutions in mind. Although you might be tempted to begin to discipline them or send them to their room, there might be a more peaceful and healthy solution you can do instead: yoga poses.
It may not be your first instinct, but having your kids take a moment to recenter themselves and breathe can help teach them long-term skills that can not only keep them calm in the moment, but teach them how to manage their emotions in similar situations.
“Kids today live a world where they are overstimulated with TVs, tablets, cell phones and video games,” says Nicole Kempka, Studio Manager of Yoga Six in Solana Beach. “Yoga creates a space when they learn how to sit still or hold a pose in one place. They must focus on what’s important: breath and listening. By slowing down and focusing on their breathing and reducing stimulation, children learn to calm their minds. They learn how to use these techniques when they feel upset or depressed.”
If you’re looking to find alternative ways to keep your child from having a meltdown, consider teaching them these six yoga poses, which can help calm them down.
1. Seated Meditation
Simply have your child sit and close their eyes. “Bring attention to breath and inhale to a count of four and exhale to a count of four,” says Kempka. “Allow the mind and nervous system to calm down.”
2. Seated Twist
Seated yoga poses are good for beginners to destress and unwind. “This pose helps strengthen and stretch the spine and shoulders,” says Kempka. “It enhances coordination and connects breath to simple movement.”
3. Bound Angle Pose
Bound angle pose may be more appealing to your child if they happen to associate the position with being a butterfly. This asana helps release tension in the lower back and stretches the hips, groin, and inner thighs. “Help relieve stress by bringing some playfulness by slowly flapping the legs like butterfly wings,” says Kempka.
4. Child’s Pose
“Placing your head down on the mat has an instant calming and soothing effect on the brain,” says Kempka. In yoga, child’s pose is the go-to pose to induce feelings of relaxation and calmness.
5. Bridge Pose
Bridge pose stretches the spine, chest, shoulders, and hips, and leg muscles. “It helps wake up the body and clear the mind,” says Kempka.
6. Happy Baby
Happy baby can help calm your child by giving them something to giggle about. “[Happy baby] gently stretches the low back and opens the groin and inner thighs,” says Kemka. “It helps relieve stress by bringing some playfulness by slowly rocking side to side.”
Images: Nicole Kempka