Sometimes being a parent is hard. Sometimes being a parent and implementing a regular self-care routine is even harder. If you’ve ever tried to meditate with your children in the room or do a workout in front of your TV, accidentally kicking over your toddler (oh, no? just me?) you’ll know what I mean.
So why not invite your child onto the mat (or onto their own adjacent mat) with you! The benefits for both you, and especially your child, are huge!
Demonstrating self-care sets children up to recognize their own need for it
We live in a world where putting other people first is the norm. How often do you skip your own yoga/workout/meditation/quiet time because your day just got filled up with other things? Self-care almost always gets thrown to the wayside while we rush from one activity to the next to the grocery store, just to come home, make supper, bathe the children, then collapse onto the couch after bedtime. We don’t make ourselves a priority, and our children see that! They see that as normal and will eventually grow into adults who do the same, unless we teach them otherwise. By rolling out two mats in the middle of the living room, working through a home practice that consists of either a free flow, online yoga class, or online kid’s yoga class, we are demonstrating to our children that taking time to care for ourselves is a normal way to live and if we open up a dialogue about it, they’ll begin know how to recognize when they need to do the same.
Children gain confidence, focus, and strength from yoga
Children’s bodies are constantly growing and changing and their minds move much faster than ours. You may notice that the attention span of a child is much shorter than your own. Yoga helps children build strength within their bodies as they practice as well as focus as they try to get into a posture, hold a balance pose, or move from one pose to the next. As they continue to work through a practice, whether sticking a pose or improving on one, they are building confidence that they take with them through their daily life.
Yoga encourages positive body image
Body image! My favourite topic and something dear to my heart as I raise two little girls. Yoga is huge for encouraging positive body image in children and adults. After all, it’s hard to hate a body that can hold you in different poses. During yoga poses you often feel which part of your body is working, you feel strong in Warrior pose or grounded in Bound Angle pose. You are forced to judge your body on what it “does” versus what it “is”. Much like confidence, positive body image is built when you, or your child, appreciate what your body is doing for you.
Doing yoga with your child creates a bond
Sometimes we move so quickly through life that we miss things. Our children play in their playrooms while we make supper and we miss getting to see some of the things they do. Sometimes we miss connecting with them. Doing yoga with them allows you to direct them into poses, help them when they fall, and share something special with them.
It brings playfulness back to your practice
When I do yoga I concentrate on how well I’m doing a pose, what my alignment looks like, and whether I can hold it for a set amount of time. I usually forget to laugh and smile while I’m trying to hold and improve on my pose. This is impossible with kids! There is so much “oops, I fell” and “look at me” and pretending to be animals. Plus, they usually look cute while they’re doing them. They remind us not to take ourselves too seriously and that it’s okay to fall out of poses, and laugh and smile.
Sharing yoga with our children has the potential to make them more confident, more focused, and more peaceful, with a better body image and connection to you. It’s an amazing experience.
So invite your children onto the mat with you. Show them your poses and ask them to copy you. Only have them hold each pose for a breath or two before moving to another pose. And have fun!
Over to you, yogis! What benefits have you seen from doing yoga with your kiddos? Tell us in the comments!