5 Strategies To Help Children Practice Mind-Body Exercises

5 Strategies To Help Children Practice Mind-Body Exercises5 Strategies To Help Children Practice Mind-Body Exercises

Do you use yoga or tai chi to help children learn about the mind-body connection?  Or maybe you work with children on stress reduction and mindfulness exercises.  There are several, research-based instructional methods that can help develop mind-body exercises for children.  Here are 5 strategies to help children practice mind-body exercises:

Tip #1:  Prepare theme-based lesson plans.

Research indicates that theme-based lesson plans help to develop focus and concentration in children practicing mind-body exercises.  For example, Yoga for Every Season provides activities for throughout the entire year and Habitat Yoga offers themed animal exercises.

Tip #2:  Build the mind-body connection.

Use imagination and imitation to build and teach the mind-body connection.  Provide imaginative scripts to practice movement with descriptive vocabulary to increase visualization and create positive feelings.  For example, Imagination Action Journeys are 10 fun-filled stories that encourage literacy, physical activity, imagination, and creativity.  Breathing Breaks combines imagination with breathing exercises to help children decrease stress,  reduce anxiety,  remain calm,  strengthen sustained attention, sharpen the ability to learn and more!

Tip #3:  Provide creative practice sessions.

Keep children engaged during practice sessions.  Ask the children for ideas on how to expand the activities during practice sessions.

Tip #4:  Use multi-sensory activities.

Use visual supports, stories, demonstrations, and teamwork for optimal learning.  For example, if you are teaching yoga, use visual cue cards such as Yoga Moves.  The instructor can demonstrate or use video modeling like the Scooter and Me Series.  The children can then practice the mind-body exercises by participating in small groups to create their own stories using the yoga poses they just learned.

Tip #5:  Ask for parent and teacher support.

Involve the parents and teachers as much as possible.  Provide carry over exercises for at home with descriptions of the exercises (i.e. Yoga Cards and Games).  If possible, instruct the teacher how to utilize mind-body exercises like mindfulness training, yoga, and tai-chi throughout the school day.

Read more on Mindfulness and Yoga for School Children.

Read more about Sensory Processing Styles and Mindfulness.

Read more on Self Regulation and Yoga in Preschoolers.

Reference:  Wang, C., Seo, D. C., & Geib, R. W. (2017). Developing a mind-body exercise programme for stressed children. Health Education Journal76(2), 131-144.

Check out some of our amazing yoga resources for kids!

Yoga CardsYoga Moves Cover YTSYoga for Every SeasonScooter & Me Bundle – 9 Videos & 16 Self-Regulation Flash Cards

5 Strategies To Help Children Practice Mind-Body Exercises