Have you got school holiday plans sorted for you and the kids? Finding creative outlets that don't cost a lot of time and money can be a challenge for many families; this is true whether parents work in or out of the home.
School holidays can sometimes throw a spanner in the works with the regular schedules you have during the school term.
Kids want to head right for the electronic devices and fill their time that would normally be spent at school learning. We live in the modern world; our kids are inundated with technology and this can be used positively to learn.
There is, however, a negative side with kids becoming too focused on the virtual world and not getting out there, exploring, playing, and just being kids.
This is where yoga can fill the void and add depth to the kids' activities during the holidays. Even though we live in the winterless North, there can still be days where its just too wet and windy to get kids outside being kids. Yoga is an activity that can be done anywhere and requires little equipment or financial cost.
There are so many benefits for kids doing yoga, have a look and see what yoga can do:
1. Self-acceptance - Yoga helps kids learn that they are amazing exactly as they are and helps them deal with feelings of self-doubt and low self-confidence.
2. Living in the present - Yoga brings us to the present so that we don't worry about the past or the future and instead focus on the here and now. This is something that kids and adults can both benefit from.
3. Stress Release - Many kids can feel stress and haven't developed ways to cope with complex emotions like adults have. Practising yoga can prove to a great outlet to disburse stress. Health experts have long agreed that yoga releases happy endorphins and so even just a few minutes a day can help kids feel better and deal with stress.
4. Improve focus and concentration - Yoga teaches kids to be present and focus their attention on themselves and their bodies. Instead of scattered thoughts and actions, kids are taught to put their attention span on what's important in the moment, which will help them focus in school, sports, activities, and life.
There are so many resources out there that parents can use to introduce themselves and children to yoga. YouTube has numerous yoga for kids' programmes. There are also books, flash cards and yoga games.
The best part is that this is an activity that parents can actively do with children. Kids are naturally curious and will emulate our behaviours, for good and bad. I wouldn't suggest doing any more than 20-30 minutes of yoga with kids, it's just enough time to be fun and engaging but not too much too soon.
To get it started, say you're going to play a fun game with them, and they will probably jump at the chance. A popular yoga game for kids is playing "yogi says". It's a take on the well-known "Simon says" game, simply substitute yoga postures in the game and you're set.
Kids love this game because it's fun, they use their bodies and minds and feel the benefits of balancing, and hand, body/mind co-ordination. If you don't know what the positions look like, you can find a couple of images online, print them off, have the kids pick the five to 10 postures they want to use in the game and then leave them on the floor for a reference. This is a fun game for adults and kids alike!
Yoga generates happiness, satisfaction, and self-worth in those who practise it. Yoga is something for kids and parents alike because it is for all ages and abilities.
You just have to get started and these school holidays are the perfect opportunity to introduce yoga to the whole family.
Make it fun, and you will see the kids engaged, positive, putting down the devices and asking for you to do it more with them.
• Tim Seutter is a firefighter, yoga teacher and manager at The Loft Yoga and Pilates Studio, Whangārei.