Teaching Kids Self-Regulation Through Yoga

 It is believed that those who are self-regulated and have good self-control from a young age tend to be healthier, are more successful and are not as likely to pick up bad habits in later life. Helping children learn how to self-regulate has benefits throughout life.

Yoga for Self-Regulation

What we experience as a young child can shape the way that we learn and our overall well-being in later life. Yoga can have a huge impact on a child’s development as during yoga a child needs to be able to remain calm, avoid sensory interference and keep focussed. Yoga also teaches children to feel comfortable and confident in their own skin. A child can therefore develop self-regulation skills as well as self-control and emotional intellect through yoga.

When a child has good self-regulation, they take on responsibility and take control of their own behaviour. They become aware of how to recognise and manage a situation which is stressful and would usually cause them to act negatively. It’s clear to see that having the ability to do this can be very useful in many situations.

Doing Yoga with Your Kids

Yoga is an excellent activity that can be done as a family. Not only does yoga teach children self-regulation, it also teaches them about connection, balance and about keeping calm. Here are three easy, safe and fun yoga poses that you can try and do with your kids:

  • Tree Pose (helps with balance)
  1. Have your hands at your side and stand up straight, keeping your back straight.
  2. With the knee pointing out, lift up the right foot and place it on the inner part of the left thigh.
  3. Above your head, press your hands together and look at a specific point, approximately five feet away.
  4. Hold this pose for 30 seconds – 1 minute.
  5. Bring your hands to your chest and lower your right leg.
  6. Now do this using your left leg.
  • Bridge Pose (stretches the thighs and the spine)
  1. Lie on your back with your feet flat on the floor and knees slightly bent; make sure your ankles and knees are straight.
  2. With palms facing downwards, place the arms in the rest position. Breathe in and lift the upper, middle and lower back away from the floor.
  3. Breathe slowly and use your hands to lift your body up and hold this pose for as long as possible.
  4. Finally, exhale and release.
  • Cat Pose (good for the back and your core)
  1. Get yourselves on your hands and knees. Keep your knees below your hips and curl your toes. Your shoulders, elbows and wrists need to be straight.
  2. Place your head in a position so that you are looking towards the floor.
  3. Breathe out and arch your spine towards the ceiling.
  4. Let you head relax towards the floor, but do not force your chin to your chest.
  5. Slowly inhale and come back to the position that you started in.

At Mt. Elizabeth Academy, our students do focused breathing and yoga daily as part of our music and movement program at the end of each day. If you would like to know which poses are being learned, stop by during pick-up time and join in!