Of all the ways we expected the 2020/21 school year to look, this wasn’t one of them. As much as we can count our blessings, we haven’t spoken to anyone who is 100% happy with the way their child’s academic year is playing out.
Parents of children enrolled in traditional schools that have gone virtual are worried about the quality and volume of content they’ll be provided, and how their children will handle the screen time. Parents of children returning to school in person are worried about what a physically distanced, masked day will be like for their children, and whether everyone will stay safe. Even homeschooling parents who answer only to their own family system are feeling the pain, with a lack of co-op groups, field trip locations and travel options. We’re all in different boats in the same storm, and the Breathing Space staff is right there with you.
In this post, we’ve compiled tips and resources for using yoga movements, breath, and mindfulness to support your learner. If you know of something we’ve left off, please let us know.
Zoom Fatigue is Real – Brain Breaks are Essential
Short movement and mindfulness breaks whenever lesson schedules allow can help your child focus throughout the day.
Tip 1: Make Movement a Game
Jumping jacks, burps, and cross-body crawls (below) are great ways to get the heart pumping and re-energize.
Simple competitions between you and your child(ren) may be motivating. Online bootcamp challenges can be fun too. Just a few minutes will help a lot.
Tip 2: Take a Breathing Break
Slouching in front of a computer screen inevitably means shallow breaths which leads to low energy and fuzzy thinking. The exercise below combines breathing and rhythmic movement.
Tip 3: Practice Chair Yoga
You can help your child take movement and brain brakes between lessons right in their seats. Older children might do this independently but younger ones will probably need a movement teacher.
- Yoga 4 Classrooms Card Deck – 67 movements, breath exercises, guided relaxations, and more with instructions and fun illustrations used by teachers all over the country.
- Mindful Chair Yoga for Children – This easy-to-use card deck from Little Flower Yoga contains 50+ practices that can support everyone – children, teens and adults – in living a happier, healthier life. Even has a kindle version.
The best way to teach movement, breath, and mindfulness for your child’s day is by modeling it yourself. By practicing with your child you benefit from the practice as well and it might improve your virtual day too!
More Resources for Supporting Your Learner
We did a round up earlier this spring of home practice resources that have lots of ideas and instructions for poses and breaths for kids. These additional resources are especially good for classroom settings or focus on the mindfulness and philosophical parts of the practice.
A 16 week curriculum to help you add yoga and mindfulness into the school day. Designed for teachers but absolutely approachable by parents of pod leaders, and priced at $29 to make it affordable for nearly everyone.
A self paced course exploring growth mindset–one of our favorite yoga camp themes! Also priced at $29, this class includes videos and printables designed to help you explore growth mindset through art. If you’re not ready to dive into a full course, KTC also has free printables focusing on growth mindset and gratitude. (You’ll need to join their mailing list to access the freebee library, but its a goldmine of resources!)
Headspace: The Headspace meditation app has a dedicated kids area with a visual navigation screen and guided meditations sortable by age range.
Insight Timer: Insight Timer is another popular meditation app. Its kids section isn’t designed for easy navigation by children, but it does have a collection of meditations and relaxing stories for children. The app is free with a paid add-on that opens up multi-day courses for children in topics such as Calming the Monkey Mind.
Both Headspace and Insight Timer also have resources to support parents during these wobbly times!
A favorite for yoga camp lesson planning whenever we talk about doing hard things, living up to our potential, or trying something new. Big Life Journal offers printable and hardbound journals for kids 6-11+ offering guided activities, discussions, and journal prompts centered around growth mindset. Whether you’re looking for something your child can do as a brief daily practice, or want a whole lesson around growth mindset, their products offer work based in science-backed positive psychology to support your family through distance learning.
And of course,
Sign Up for A Live Weekly Yoga Class
Breathing Space Family Yoga–Live, Interactive Weekly Classes: We’ve tried to schedule our classes at times during the week that are most helpful to you and your children. Older kids classes are (mostly) scheduled for later in the day, once they’ve had a break from structured activities. Younger kids classes are scheduled (mostly) earlier in the day, before their attention in totally fried. In both cases, our lessons are planned with the virtual school day in mind.