The holidays are over, the snow may be flying and the days are shorter. You and your family may be exhausted from the bustling holidays, with cooking, parties, guests, or travel. During all of this, your child is still going to school and striving to meet the expectations of the teacher and classmates. The pace of modern life means that today’s children are more stressed out, anxious and exhausted than ever before.
Winter may be the best time for your family to slow down and tune into what you really need right now. Nature has provided the perfect opportunity for you to follow the natural rhythm of shorter, darker days and turn inward. Think of it as nature’s permission slip to slow down and relax.
Here are two excellent practices to help the whole family de-stress, relax and regroup:
Daily Check-in. It is helpful for the family to dedicate a time when each person checks in with themselves and each other. Times are busy, the kids get home from school or after-school activities, homework needs to get done and dinner must be made, eaten and cleared away. It may feel as though there is no time for checking in beyond basic logistics. But if you take even five minutes as a family to sit, breathe and discuss what is going on with each person, you may find that you feel like you have more time to get everything else done. It also helps the children start to tune into their emotions.
Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Establish a regular time each day.
- Pick a designated spot with soft pillows, soft light and maybe even some relaxing nature sounds playing.
- Be clear about what you want to achieve, i.e.; breathing exercise, relaxing, checking in with your feelings etc. You could also incorporate some simple yoga poses (see below).
- Keep it short to start so that it feels manageable. Five minutes may be a good amount of time.
- Try to remember that this is a practice. If the day ends up being too busy, don’t fret and get down on yourself. Start up the next day or when you can make it happen.
Family Yoga. Family yoga practice is another excellent way to recharge. There are many yoga poses that are simple and fun for all to enjoy, such as Mountain, Warrior 2, Tree, and Child’s Pose. This indoor activity brings the family together and slows everyone down. You don’t need fancy props; a towel or blanket will do fine. The basic movements help the children control and learn about their bodies. You can find many free sequences online, but make sure you are careful with your body and stay within your limits. Little Flower Yoga is a great book for parents to use as a resource.
There are many benefits of yoga for children such as:
- Stress reduction
- Body awareness/control
- Improved focus and attention
- Improved executive functioning skills
- Improved academic performance
May these practices enrich and strengthen your family ties and add loving warmth to cold Winter days.
About the author: Elizabeth is a former public school teacher who is currently tutoring young children and teaching yoga. To learn more about Elizabeth visit her website at www.thetreeoflearning.com or email her at email@example.com.
Join Elizabeth for a Family Yoga Class on January 12th at 10:30 AM. Learn the benefits for the whole family while having fun. We will practice postures, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques. There may even be a little music and dance involved. Class will be 45 minutes with a 15-minute Q & A afterward. Please bring your own mat or towel to practice on, and wear comfortable clothing you can move in. This class is most suitable for children ages 4-10 and adults of any age.