One night this week we came home from school + my son was in a mood. Just a rotten mood. And it upset him. And he couldn’t shake it. I knew in that moment that I would do what I could to reassure + comfort him, but there was also the recognition that some of it was beyond my control, so we just had to ride the wave. At the same time, I reflected on the reality that I had dropped the ball lately + it had been a while since we had done anything to give him practice in strategies to use when he’s feeling upset, angry, or stressed.
As parents, it is really important that in this day + age we teach our kids everything we can about emotional regulation (staying in control of our response to our emotions) + wellbeing. Honestly, the best way to do that is to intentionally incorporate some strategy-learning + self-awareness when your kids are in a good place + the right frame of mind. I’ve worked to build up a lot of resources + habits in our home so that our kids have these opportunities, but sometimes I take for granted just how long it takes to master the skill of managing our emotions in a healthy way. (And by how long, I mean YEARS. Like, 20+ years). So this week’s meltdown was the reminder I needed to make time this week to get back to some of our practices.
In case you’re wondering what some of those are, we have lots of books, journals, homemade visuals from our conversations, + we also practice yoga. It may feel uncomfortable to think about how you would incorporate these types of approaches into your home life, but if you put that discomfort aside for the benefit of your kids, you may find that you have some amazing conversations with your kids + learn more about them than you ever had before. Trust me, it’s worth it.
I think one of the simplest ways to get started is to put some yoga into your week. And that reason is two-fold. One, it’s active, which kids love (even if at first they wrinkle their noses). Two, you will also get something out of it!
Last week was one of those crazy weeks where I just felt like nothing was getting done + I definitely didn’t have the energy to do anything about it. By the end of each workday, I was spent. And on days like those, getting through dinner + bedtime can be a real struggle.
It’s on days like these where I bring in [a lot] of self-talk + decide it’s time to do a little yoga with the kids. Our yoga arsenal started with the Cosmic Kids YouTube videos. Then for my son’s second birthday, our friends gave him a mat + child-friendly yoga book. Little by little, our confidence in doing yoga together grew. Yoga time is something that we do with zero regularity, but whenever anyone suggests we do it, everyone is onboard + excited to give it a whirl. By no means are we coordinated or doing the poses correctly, but we have such a fun time learning about our bodies, practicing something that is calming, + incorporating physical movement into our play.
Our journey with yoga has been slow + certainly inconsistent, but over time, we have really come to love the practice + it has been worthwhile to build our collection of resources. We started first with Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube. Yes, YouTube. I’ll tell you what, though, it’s free + the kids looooove it. From there, my son was gifted a yoga mat + picture book that we used. Then we bought some yoga decks which have proven to be the biggest hit in our home.
There are times now and then when the kids choose to do yoga independently. Sometimes we go outside to do it. Other times, we go back to our trusty YouTube channel. The variety that’s inherent in yoga is refreshing + I cannot recommend enough that you give it a try someday soon with your kids.
Here are some of the yoga resources that we use in our home. We keep these in a basket out in the open so that we are more inclined to use them, I definitely recommend taking this approach, should you choose to incorporate more yoga materials into your home. I can’t stress enough to start small + follow your kids’ lead. Don’t feel like you have to go out + purchase countless resources to start this simple practice. You don’t need a mat. You don’t have to own any books (#library). Give it a try—see what happens—go from there.
This is one that we got most recently + it is packed with great ideas + information about yoga for families. If you’re a little more a yogi yourself, you may enjoy this text because it really dives into the yoga practice + ways to get your kids involved. With that said, this is definitely not a yoga primer, so if you’re just starting on your journey, add it to your wishlist + come back to it.
This is great for even the youngest yogis. The colorful pages + simple wording makes doing these poses very simple + accessible to all!
Breathe Like a Bear: This is a wonderful book (probably my favorite of the 3 listed here!) that teaches children outstanding breathing + calming techniques in a kid-friendly, engaging manner. We have read this at bedtime several times but it is also great to do one or two of these at the beginning or end of any family-yoga sesh.
These dice really are geared for grownups, I think, but it’s fun to roll them + set up a flow. It almost makes it feel like more of a game + we have all really enjoyed having them in the house. To be honest, there have been times where I used them to sneak in a quick session of yoga for myself. They’re really useful to have on hand!
I will add that I found these dice that are geared more for kids, but I have not yet tried them! (I’ll update this post after we give them a try. 🙂
These cards are so fun. I’ve used them with kids of all ages, so definitely count on these being a hit. They are easy-to-read, colorful, + durable. All of these cards focus on various poses that can be done individually or with partners. There are even some simple yoga games with are great when you have a small group of people to play!
Mindful Kids Deck This is from the makers of the Yoga Pretzels deck. I dare say I like it even better than the yoga deck. This one has some yoga cards, but for the most part, this is more of a breathing + mindfulness deck. We have used these at the beginning or end of our yoga sessions, but we have also used them at bedtime.
It is really great to practice intention + calm when our kids are regulated. This is so that when they are having a moment, they can fell back on these excellent strategies that can set them back on track. If there were one thing from this list to get—these would be it.
These cards feature animal poses + easy-to-understand directions. It would be fun to use these as a matching game because the pose illustrations are on cards separate from the poems. While I think in many ways this is similar to the Yoga Pretzels deck, this does offer some different poses, + that’s always worth trying, if you ask me!
Cosmic Kids Yoga Ahhhh, it’s so corny + my kids eat it aaaaall up. She is fantastic at creating stories or recreating popular movies/shows like Frozen, Pokemon, etc. + turning them into yoga sequences.
My son (5) totally follows along. Whereas my daughter (3) sticks around for parts of it and does what interests her. And it works. If you’re looking for screen time that is also getting your kids moving, this is a fantastic option. And don’t be fooled, even our 4th- and 3rd-grade neighbors started watching it after viewing it at our house, definitely don’t think this is just for little ones, because it’s not.
Okay, these are a total splurge but I’d be remiss not to mention them to you. These vegan-leather mats are beautiful + work amazingly well. I have the adult-sized one for myself + love taking it to class. I bought mine + my son’s child mat on sale. My sister bought a toddler one for my daughter, also on sale.
If you sign up for their Gathred loyalty program, they will send you a birthday discount. You can also watch their warehouse sales for children’s yoga mats. These make great gifts, definitely add it to your child’s list if you think yoga would be something you would incorporate on a more regular basis.
NOTE: At the time of this posting, these are currently sold out. Add these to your wishlist + definitely keep an eye on the stock, I’m sure they’ll come back in stock soon!
Challenge yourself to be more intentional in teaching your children the strategies + lifestyle choices that will help them when they need to cope, relieve stress, or calm down. Find one small way to start making that change in your family + start in the next day or so. Be sure to share what you try + how it goes. What difference does it make?
Remember, learning to fall back on these strategies requires practicing them so that they become second nature. This means that it’s invaluable to incorporate more of these practices over time. Enjoy the process + reaping its benefits in your own home!
If you’re interested in getting a closer look at what these resources, head over to my Instagram Story Highlights – Yoga + you’ll be able to see my breakdown of all of these amazing resources. While you’re there, be sure to follow my account so that we can stay connected!
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