10 Ways to Motivate Your Kids To Get On The Yoga Mat
Yoga is the practice of poses, meditation and breathing exercises. Motivating your kids to get on a yoga mat can be fun and healthy. While some kids may feel lazy to get themselves moving and would prefer lazing around like a couch potato in front of the television with a bag of chips in their hands, we as parents know what is preferable and good for them.
Sadly, due to digitalization, today’s generation is very much into smartphones as even young infants who can barely walk are seen with tablets and other gadgets on their hands. Before they can even gain some sense, they are introduced to YouTube cartoons and useless games. While parents may think of it as something that keeps their children busy, the after-effects of technology on kids are intensely horrifying. And this isn’t a hypothesis that can have many opinions; it is a well-established fact that technology can have a terrible effect on young kids.
This is why, as a parent, you need to realize the importance of yoga, even before you begin motivating your kids to get on the yoga mat. Remember, your kids will do exactly what they are taught. Here is your choice – letting them watch cartoons or helping them stay fit by doing healthy exercises, meditations, and yoga poses.
Benefits of yoga for your child’s health
To understand the intense need for yoga exercises for your kids, here are a few reasons that will convince you to get your kids on the yoga mat.
It protects their health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, kids should get at least an hour of physical activity each day to prevent sickness and other diseases. Supported by the National Health Service, kids who do yoga or exercise regularly don’t get sick too often.
The report also highlighted that kids who aren’t exposed to yoga and exercise are usually dull and lazy while attracting many health problems.
It’s great for their heart
Do you know that the leading cause of death in the United States is due to heart disease? This is so true and alarming at the same time. The obvious reason mentioned for almost all the cases was the fact that adults were appraised in the wrong environment.
It is a commonly known fact, and like every other exercise, yoga is great for the performance of your heart. Yoga strengthens the muscles and improves the blood circulation which in turn reduces heart problems.
It helps kids with ADHD
According to research done by the health department of Harvard, yoga can help children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) by enhancing the core system of ADHD which includes hyperactivity and impulsiveness.
Yoga involves the movement of the body in a sequence of poses that teach the kids to build their focus in a fun and entertaining way. Regular yoga games are indeed great for kids in establishing their focus and accurate concentration. This concentration helps the kids in their school work where they need focus.
It boosts their emotional intelligence
One of the most eminent benefits of yoga for kids is the improvement in your child’s ability to manage their emotions according to the situation. In simple terms, yoga teaches kids to calm themselves when they are either upset or angry.
In research, they found out that kids who did regular yoga in the morning were able to control their impulses (1). Moreover, it was found out that kids who did yoga in preschool were able to develop self-regulation skills. This benefit, in general, is enough to convince anyone who isn’t aware of the importance of yoga.
Improved cognitive function
A renowned yoga instructor experimented with the effects of yoga on children by exposing them (7 to 9 years) to different mindful yoga poses that included meditation, breathing exercises, and self-reflection. The sessions were held at least 2 times a week for 30 minutes and lasted for a month.
The study found that children, compared to those that weren’t exposed to yoga, had gained massive behavior control in many different settings. The ability to initiate tasks and way of performing it showed significant improvements in the kids.
Among the noticeable differences, they saw an ideal change in the power of execution time when performing simple and complex tasks. Kids who performed regular yoga poses were found to be quick and vigilant in solving complex problems.
How can you motivate your kids to do yoga?
Get them a designer yoga mat
This will teach them spatial awareness and respect for personal space. Giving your child an attractive colorful yoga mat will attract them for obvious reasons. Beyond the beauty of color and patterns that accentuate a feeling of positivity, it should keep your child stable during their yoga poses. It should by cushy and comfy and portable at the same time. This way you can experiment with getting your kids to do yoga in open gardens when they get bored from the monotonous routine of practicing yoga at home.
Enlighten them with innumerable benefits
- It improves the posture, balance, and focus of kids while preventing disabilities and posture problems. Especially for the kids who are overweight, yoga can be the best medicine in their journey towards a healthy life.
- It is an exciting exercise for kids that strengthen muscles and bones. Moreover, it increases the blood circulation in the body that prevents countless heart and other deadly diseases.
- It relieves stress by enhancing the kids’ stress control system. Breathing exercises and meditation teaches them about managing their stress levels.
- It improves digestion.
- It teaches them patience and helps develop a sense of tranquility. In simple words, it helps them in controlling their emotions especially when they are upset and angry.
- Breathing exercises are beneficial for asthma and fighting off common colds.
Join a yoga class together
Kids will enjoy doing yoga with you as they get to spend quality time with you. There are fun yoga videos online or DVDs that you can watch, pause and rewind to get the pose right.
Make it fun for them
If the yoga sessions are too controlled and serious, the kids will get bored and lose interest. Tell them how funny and silly some poses are, take out sounds or words to make the poses fun. Throughout the session, you have to make sure that your kids aren’t getting bored, because you don’t have to convince them every day to join the yoga sessions. If you succeed in maintaining their interest by keeping it fun and relaxing, they’re most likely to join the sessions willingly.
Put on their favorite music
Nothing is more relaxing than music and yoga together. The combination is exemplary because music is believed to soothe the nerves and transport you to a world where you can concentrate on your inner self. Music also keeps you energized and on the go.
Tell them the names of the poses which are usually names associated with nature or animals
This will make it easier for them to remember the pose. The names of some poses include Star, Air plane, Dolphin/Shark, Mermaid, Bridge, Frog, Tree, Flower, and Rainbow. Memorizing them with poses is equally important to keep their motivation at the peak.
Invent stories to go with different poses
Relate the different poses with cartoons if your kid is small. You can also pretend to be the sun for the sun salutation pose and ask your child to salute you. While doing an upward stretch, think of welcoming the sky, moon, and stars if you do yoga at night. Surprisingly, this normally works because kids live in a world of fantasies that attracts them more than anything. These made-up stories are more helpful than a motivational lecture.
Keep it easy
Keep the sessions short and do not push the kids too hard, especially if they have a short attention span. Try out one or two poses a day. It will improve with time. Normally, on some days your kids may not want to continue for longer; instead of forcing them to complete the sessions, giving them ease and a little leniency will eventually increase their motivation in the coming days. All you need to do is to keep it fun and make it elementary.
Stay patient with your kids
If they are unable to follow a pose the first time, do not discourage them. Instead, teach them with patience and praise their efforts. “How flexible”, “well done” are small praises that are very effective in enhancing the motivation of kids. This is because they will feel that they’re valued and their struggle is being appreciated. In my opinion, this is your best tip. Just keep patience with your kids and get them rolling over the yoga mats.
Hold their interest
Make sure the pose is suited to the child’s individual needs. You should also try to keep the position held for a shorter duration of time so that the kids don’t lose interest. If a certain posture is making your child uncomfortable, you should avoid repeating the same exercise. This will help to prevent them from losing interest.
If your child has an increasing habit of using smartphones for games and cartoons, a yoga mat can be your way forward in abrogating this addiction. As a parent, you need to understand the value of exercises to your kids before you motivate your kids to exercise on the yoga mat. Moreover, staying consistent is important. Regular gaps will downsize your kids’ motivation as it will make them lazy and lose interest.
Head over to your driveway, sidewalk, small playground or park and get started with workouts by engaging your whole family.
Instead of giving birth to a generation of nomophobias, encourage healthy exercises for your kids to create a generation of fresh and healthy people.
Who is the author?
Harry Jaxson is a passionate health and lifestyle blogger. He loves to write on healthy lifestyle, fitness 101 and DIY related topics. Currently, he is associated with Kids Future, the best online store.