Calm Your Kiddo Using This Quick + Easy Yoga Sequence
Here is a simple yoga session for parents and teachers to encourage children to relax and calm down. This short and simple exercise will help them feel focused and ready to learn. Sometimes children can get hyper and have a lot of energy in their bodies, so this yoga session is a great way get it all out in a fun, healthy, and effective way.
I facilitated this short session to ten kids after a very energetic game of baseball and before a calmer art activity. It really helped calm them down to focus on their afternoon task.
Duration: 15 minutes
Optional Tools: Yoga pretzel cards and Tibetan Singing Bowl
Get your child (or children) ready, bring them to their mats (or wherever you’re going to practice), and begin with Bunny Breath:
Bring your kid or kiddos into kneeling on the floor. The name of the game is to be playful and imaginative! Talk to them:
- First, let’s twitch our noses like bunnies! Can you show me your bunny nose twitch?
- Now take four quick breaths in through your bunny nose and then breathe out through your mouth in a long calm sigh
- Four breaths in (sniff, sniff, sniff, sniff). One long breath out (whhooooooo)
- Repeat this three times
Start with having the kids stand up. Talk to them:
- Stand tall and quiet like a mountain with your palms together near your heart
- Let’s take three long breaths in and out here as we close our eyes
- As a mountain what can you see around you? Trees? Rivers? Birds and butterflies? Can you see the sun moving through the clouds?
- Stay here for several breaths, asking them questions to get their imaginations going
Reach for the sun
From Standing Mountain Pose, you’ll bring them through a kid’s version of a Sun Salutation. Talk to them:
- Now we are going to energize our bodies and reach for the sun!
- Let’s stand with our feet shoulder-width apart and we are going to reach up for the sun first with our left hand, and we are going to pull it down into our baskets
- So, reach up to the sun (breathe in slowly through our noses)
- And pull the sun down into our baskets (breathe out quickly through our mouths)
- Repeat with the right hand
- Do this twice each side
Shake like jelly
This is a fun way to help your kiddo get all the excess energy out while increasing circulation and bringing movement into their body. Talk to them:
- First, let’s untie our knots in our bodies!
- We’re going to start with our jaw. Give your jaw a gentle wiggle to loosen it up.
- Then we’ll untie the knots in our necks by rolling them slowly from side to side
- Moving down the body, untying the shoulders by rolling them back and forward, untie our waist by moving our hips in a circle, then move the knees in a circular motion
- Last, let’s untie the knots in our feet by giving them a wiggle and when we are all loosened up, let’s shake our entire bodies like jelly!
- Shake, Shake, Shake!!
Peddle laughing (Boat Pose)
We’ll move into a seated position now, so have your kiddo either sit in a chair or on the floor. Talk to them:
- I want you all to show each other how well you can lean back
- From here, start to pedal your feet. How fast can you go?
- Can you laugh while you pedal??
- Now everybody laugh! Let’s get all of our sillies out by laughing out loud!
Now we’ll come back into standing. Talk to them:
- Ok, now let’s do the Volcano!
- Place your palms over your chest, and picture a volcano exploding at the very top
- Breathe in through your nose and lift your palms over your head
- Now breathe out through your mouth as you explode out! Erupt your hands apart from each other and up towards the sky
- Make explosion noises! Pheeewwwwwhhhhh!
- From there, swing your hands down by your sides before bringing them back together in prayer
- Repeat three times through
This is a nice little moving pranayama for kids. Having them link breath with motion is a great way to get them calm and centered. Talk to them:
- Now let’s stand with our feet wide apart
- Interlace your fingers and dangle your arms in front of you like an elephant trunk
- Breathe in through your nose as you lift your arms high above your head
- Breathe out through your mouth as you swing your arms down through your legs
- Repeat three times
Giving your kiddo something to focus on, like balance, is a great way to build concentration and body awareness. We are now beginning to wind down. Talk to them:
- Let’s have fun balancing on one leg!
- Bring one foot up and place it on the thigh of your other leg and reach your finger tips up to the sun
- Concentrate on something in the room to help you balance as you reach up
- You are now a calm and restful tree. Or maybe your branches sway in the wind!
Rock (Child’s Pose)
This gentle, restorative pose is great for all ages as a nice way to calm mind and body. Talk to them:
- Now let’s slowly root down into the ground like a rock – nice and calm and quiet
- Close your eyes and breathe in and out gently through your nose
- As a rock, what can you see? Can you see grass, mud and bugs? What kind of bugs can you see?
- We now feel sturdy and peaceful.
- Stay here and breathe gently.
Lotus pose (or cross legged) with singing bowl (optional)
This ends the session.
- Have them sit calmly in lotus (or cross legged, or even kneeling). Have them breathe as normal, eyes closed for a few breaths
- Now, open your eyes and begin passing the singing bowl around the circle, allowing the kids to have a try at making it sing
- If you don’t have a singing bowl, just have everyone focus on a few rounds of deep belly breathing and have them watch their stomachs rise and fall with hands over their bellies
Now your kids should be calm, focused and settled – ready to learn and ready to listen to instructions. Notice how much quieter the room is now!
Optional art activity after yoga:
Duration: 45 minutes – one hour
Tools: Construction paper, colored pencils or crayons, scissors and string
Everyone will draw or paint their own rainbow mandala. In the center of their mandala, ask them to draw themselves in tree pose in the sunshine with bunnies, flowers, elephants and clouds too!
Once they have finished, help them cut out their mandala in a circular shape, make a tiny hole and thread string through to create a loop so they can take it home and hang it up in their room.
Doing yoga with your kids is a great way to bond, to keep them healthy and happy, and to establish positive habits at an early age. Once they’ve been introduced to the yoga practice, kids truly thrive in it. They love learning how to make shapes with their bodies, breathing with awareness, and practices like chanting, singing bowls, etc.
Yoga can help calm a child’s mind and body, center their awareness, and teach them valuable tools like conscious breathing, mindfulness, and presence. The best part is, it’s fun and a great way to spend together. Enjoy, and namaste!