Ahead of the start of the school year, we look at how to help your children unwind. Here Olivia Falcon gives her top tips on yoga for kids
While there is no doubt we live in the greatest city in the world, many London children face the relentless pressure of juggling homework, after-school clubs, and a social life that would make most adults wince. The result? Our children are often left feeling stressed, anxious and emotionally overwhelmed. In order to avoid this, I’ve put together some suggestions for chilling out.
Jo Manuel is the Queen of serene, she teaches at Special Yoga (specialyoga.org.uk) in Kensal Rise, offering kids’ yoga and mindfulness programmes (from £5). The classes focus on stretching and breathing techniques to help children regulate emotions. Jo’s forte is finding different techniques that work for the individual child and has worked with special-needs children. She also offers classes to parents to help them teach their children to be more mindful. Download Jo’s stretchalongs at: movementformodernlife.com
Annie Carpenter at TriYoga in Chelsea offers 45-minute classes for four to six year olds and seven to nine year olds (from £6.50 per class). Annie doesn’t use music, as she believes it’s good for kids to be in the peace and quiet. Instead, she blends traditional yoga moves with imaginative stories to keep classes interesting. Kids especially love the spaghetti test at the end of the class when they lie down and see how floppy they can become. | triyoga.co.uk
Enchanted Wonders A to Z Cards, age 3-8
A whimsical card game that combines yoga poses with carefully-crafted questions to allow children to express their thoughts and feelings through their imagination and creative play. £12.99 | yogamatters.com
The Soul Bird by Michal Snunit, 3+
Powerful and beautifully written, this classic tale helps younger children to understand their feelings. An enchanting book with a deeper message.
A pebble for your pocket by Thich Nhat Hanh, 5+
Gentle Buddhist parables to help children let go of anger and other negative emotions and reconnect with nature.
Yoga Nap by Kirsten Rentz, 18+
A must-read for wound up parents – the author uses simple pictures and instructions for restorative yoga poses that reboot the body and mind.
Sitting Still Like a Frog by Eline Snel, age 5-12
Mindfulness exercises to help kids cope with anxiety, improve concentration and deal with difficult emotions.
Milton’s Secret by Eckhart Tolle and Robert S Friedman, 8+
Ideal antidote to kids stressed by bullying, it also teaches children how to live in, and enjoy, the present.
Animal Parade Warm Milk Sleep Support
These animal-shaped, sugar-free and gluten-free chewable tablets contain Lactium – which creates warm milk’s sleep-promoting effects. £17.45 | victoriahealth.com