By Lara Hocheiser, Flow and Grow Kids Yoga Founder/Owner and Teacher Trainer
Quick — duck! The school year is oncoming and you don’t want to get smacked!
Just kidding — let’s walk mindfully toward this academic year, as role models for conscious, kind, mindful living.
According to PNAS (Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences of the United States), the children around us are going to need extra support; “despite favorable conditions, we find that students made little or no progress while learning from home. Learning loss was most pronounced among students from disadvantaged homes.” (Engzell, Arun Frey and Mark D. Verhagen).
Lara teaching over Zoom in 2020
Whether you are a caregiver, educator, mental health provider, or other important adult in the lives of children, the change back to in-person learning will require an all hands-on-deck approach. As described, learning may have been stalled. Academic, behavioral, cognitive, and social regression may have also taken place — especially in certain disadvantaged groups who had the least support — during the pandemic.
Add the increase in mental health challenges that schools are forecasting for students, and we can see that our work is cut out for us.
So while we do not pretend to have the magic wand to solve life’s ills, such as global health or systemic racism, we can provide some respite from the challenges students are facing.
First, ask yourself if you are doing enough to care for yourself. The old adage that you must put your oxygen mask on first on the proverbial plane, ahem! So once you have a small, daily routine to care for your own mental, physical, social, and emotional wellbeing, you have a well to drink from, so to speak.
Just as we need to care for the young people we love, we need to care for ourselves!
Some tips for your own practice:
- Start each day with 5 deep breaths
- Write down 3 reasons you feel grateful today
- Use all your senses when enjoying your morning drink or snack, presence lives in the sensory experiences!
Mindfulness is proven to increase compassion, has a positive impact on academic performance, and decrease occupational stress. So if you are a teacher that struggles with patience for your students, mindfulness will help you stay on the job longer (hello longevity). It will also help students improve their social and academic experience.
For example, you can learn how to teach simple breathing and postures to help students deal with big feelings.
Learning to process emotions rather than bypass or dissociate from them is critical to overall wellbeing. Let’s help students identify their emotions, notice how the emotions feel in the body and where they feel them, and choose appropriate strategies to manage them.
With that accomplished, you can bring joy to the center of the educational experience!
But is that enough for you to be able to share your practices with the kids you care for?
No way, Jose!
So, then, how can you support them?
Get certified in children’s yoga and mindfulness!
Did you know that Yoga is about experiencing JOY and UNITY?
Help children connect and breathe a little easier — by learning what yoga is and how to teach it appropriate to children of all ages.