After a long, lazy summer, homework and tests can make kids feel gloomy. Yoga expert, Cheryl MacDonald, explains how to make the summer feeling last.
In the final days of the summer holidays, I look at my son and I know he can feel the days of freedom and fun slipping away. He knows it’s only a matter of time before that dreaded Monday morning alarm and I can sense his tension as worries about friendships, new teachers and difficult homework occupy his mind. He’s a far cry from the laidback sandcastle maker and seashell collector of the months gone by.
I want to wrap him up and tell him we'll run away - keep summer alive and follow the sun. But I know I can't and business as usual must resume, so I go to my toolbox and bring out the only thing I can rely on in times such as this: my yoga mat.
Here, I'll show you how you and your family can use yoga techniques to banish the blues and start the new school year with a spring in your step.
On the first morning back at school after a long break, it's tempting to go full throttle as soon as the alarm goes off. Practice mindfulness (hard though it may be when a school child is eating Rice Crispies one by one when time is against you). Allow you and your family enough time for conversations at breakfast, or a walk to school that allows you to focus on the here and now. Or, instead of multi-tasking in the evening, put down your smart phone (work can wait) and spend time catching up on your respective days. Don't leave it another whole year to get to know your child. Do it now.
How often do you find yourself sitting on the sidelines at a gym hall, sports club or swimming pool at the weekend, half-heartedly reading a magazine and watching the clock, while your child takes part in an activity (that they may not even enjoy!). Wouldn’t it be more fun to be splashing around in the pool with them? Or riding your bikes together, or playing in the garden? You did it on holiday, so why not now? At our YogaBellies Kidz classes we encourage children to practice at home with their parents. I've practiced with my own son since he was a baby and our mat time is out special time. Try it.
When the new term starts, children's minds are full of worries about homework, turbulent friendships and new teachers. Often this contributes to protracted bedtimes and disturbed sleep for everyone. To counteract this I encourage a gentle bedtime yoga routine (you can find a very simple, downloadable routine onYogaBelliesKidz.co.uk). Get into the habit of doing this every night and use our guided meditations too. I promise it will help make bed time an easier transition.
And for stressed out mums and dads, there are lots more simple, but effective ways to bring serenity into your life.
To get started on your road to relaxation, take advantage of our exclusive YogaBelliesKidz deal, and save 20% on a course of six lessons.
Cheryl MacDonald is a wife and mother, who lives in Glasgow. She is the founder and director of Yogabellies and YogabelliesKidz yoga. YogabelliesKidz teaches yoga in a fun and informative way to children aged three to 12 years and is based on the National Education curriculum. YogabelliesKidz teachers are passionate about bringing yoga to schools and introducing the amazing benefits from an early age.