Yoga and mindfulness tips for making the back to school routine easier for kids, teachers, and families!
It is officially back to school and I’m sure that both you and your kiddos are full of emotions. Kids are having a wide range of feelings right now, from excited and eager to anxious and frustrated.
All of these feels are normal and expected, especially with the state of the world as of late.
Parents and caregivers are experiencing all of those emotions as well, and we all need a little time to stop and breathe.
Even teachers are feeling overwhelmed right now! It is a whirlwind of change and normalcy at the same time. It is nerve-wracking and exciting for everyone and we all need some time to adjust.
What are some things we need to help us get back into a calm and energized routine? Yoga and mindfulness for kids and families alike, of course.
Here are some yoga and mindfulness tips for making back-to-school routines a little easier for both kids and adults alike.
Morning Meditations for Kids to Wake Up and Get Focused
Give you and your kiddos a chance to wake up and prepare for the day ahead with these easy and calming morning meditations. These are designed to help focus and build confidence in kids (and adults) so they can start their day with a positive attitude.
There are a few different types of meditations you can do depending on what works for you. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to meditate!
- Walking: It’s super easy and gets you moving in the morning. A simple 10 minutes of walking involves practicing mindfulness by thinking about your breathing, the feelings you’re experiencing, and what you hear and see.
- Breathing: This can help you reduce stress and calm your mind. Try sitting comfortably or closing your eyes while breathing. Simply focus on the inhale and exhale while clearing your mind. Try a few fun breathing exercises with your kids too!
- Mantra: Many people believe that repeating words or phrases is a great way to practice mindfulness. It can help find calm and inner peace. Some mantras like the familiar ‘ohm’ sound are very popular, but anything can be a mantra as long as it has meaning to you.
- Guided: These guided meditations are very popular. It can be a person guiding you through your morning meditations or simply music. Pay attention to your breathing and relax. A few excellent meditation apps are Headspace, Calm, Ten Percent, and Smiling Mind.
Practice a Few Mantras to Focus your Mind and Create a Positive Energy
Using a mantra, or a repeated calming phrase, is super easy to do and can help get your morning on track. Create a calm environment and focus by practicing mantras during your meditation. Try saying some positive affirmations as you meditate!
- Sit or lay in a comfortable position. Close your eyes and clear your mind.
- Breathe slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Repeat these out loud or in your mind as you breathe.
“I am kind”
“I am smart”
“I am enough”
“I believe in myself”
“I am confident in myself and my abilities”
“I choose to think positive”
“I am strong and capable”
“I deserve to be loved”
“I am open and ready to have a great day”
These positive affirmations will help build self-esteem and confidence in kids. Anyone can practice mindfulness and you can decide what affirmations are best for you.
Practicing these techniques can help you and your kiddos feel more in control and ready for going back to school.
Morning Yoga Routines to Stretch and Get Out of Bed
An excellent way to start your day is to do a little yoga. It helps shake off sleepiness and get you focused for the day ahead. You can even incorporate meditation into your yoga. Another great morning meditation is doing sun salutations!
“Hello Sun!” (Mountain Pose)
“Hello Rain!” (Waterfall)
“Hello Earth!” (Forward Fold)
“Hello Wind!” (Low Lunge)
“Hello Ocean!” (Downward Dog)
“Hello Grass!” (High Plank)
“Hello Ocean!” (Downward Dog)
“Hello Wind!” (Low Lunge)
“Hello Earth!” (Forward Fold)
“Hello Rain!” (Waterfall)
“Hello Sun!” (Mountain Pose)
Doing yoga in the mornings can help you feel more prepared for the day, which definitely helps when going back to school. It helps get the wiggles out and feel more awake in the mornings! Try this yoga flow to begin your day.
Mountain Pose: Stand up tall with your feet flat and arms at your sides. Place the flat of one foot on the opposite leg and raise your arms above your head. Press your palms together and stretch.
Dancer Pose: Go back to standing and kick one leg up behind you. Grab your ankle to balance and lift your other arm out in front of you.
Downward Dog Pose: Bend at the waist and plan your palms flat on the ground in front of you. You will look like an upside down ‘V’ shape.
Cow Pose: Get on all fours on the ground with your knees and hands holding you up. Curve your back down so your back is like a ‘U’ shape by relaxing your hips and spine.
Cat Pose: Still on all fours, curve your back up like you are a cat hissing at something.
Child’s Pose: Tuck your knees under you and fold your top over your thighs. You can put your arms on either side of you in back or front of you.
Cobra Pose: Lay down on the ground on your stomach. Push your torso up with your arms and stretch your spine.
Bow Pose: Balance on your stomach while lifting your legs up behind you. Grab your ankles with your hands and balance.
Camel Pose: Kneel on the ground with your back straight. Bend slightly backwards and grab your ankles with your hands.
Crescent Lunge Pose: Lift one leg so it is bent straight behind you while the other is in a lunge in front. Raise your arms above your head and stretch.
Triangle Pose: Stand up with your feet apart. Make an upside down ‘V’ shape with your legs and bend your torso over so you are sideways. Stretch your arms above and below so you make a straight line.
Warrior Pose: Like with the crescent lunge pose, bend one leg at the knee in front of you and stretch the other behind you. Raise both of your arms above your head before moving them down parallel to your legs.
These poses are great for starting the day and shaking that sleep out. You can choose to skip or add other poses but these are wonderful for stretching out your limbs and spine while also practicing mindfulness.
You might want to check out a few awesome kids yoga videos if you prefer visual learning instead.
Kumarah Yoga YouTube Check out a few videos from Maia with themed poses and yoga story adventures!
Sit and Stretch (Jaime’s Brain Breaks) by Cosmic Kids
Kids Yoga Freeze Dance (Twist Like Spaghetti & Other Silly Yoga Poses) by GO WITH YOYO-Fitness Fun for Kids
5 Minute Yoga Routine for Kids- Safari Adventure! by Channel Mum
Yoga for Kids with Animals by Smile and Learn
Yoga for Kids-Children Yoga-Brain Breaks-Kids Songs by the Learning Station
Superhero Yoga For Kids by Moovlee
Breathing Exercises for Stressful Moments at School
School can be stressful at times and knowing some breathing exercises to calm down are super helpful.
Everyone (teachers, parents, kids and teens!) should learn calming techniques so they can use them when times get rough.
Using these exercises will help kids learn to regulate and control their emotions and deal with stress in a healthy way!
Here is a video with several examples of breathing exercises for kiddos to try out.
When stress becomes too much, try using this technique to calm down and relax.
- When you feel stress, begin breathing slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth. (This forces you to slow down and get more oxygen to your brain and lungs, reducing blood pressure and relaxing you)
- Depending on what shapes you use, trace them with your finger on something in front of you, like a table or your skin.
- As you trace on edge, breathe in and count 1,2,3,4 before pausing.
- On the next edge, exhale and repeat.
Finger Count Breathing
This exercise is a great way to ground yourself and calm down. It uses sensory motion techniques as well!
- Begin breathing slowly in through your nose and out through your mouth. I like to count to 4 as I do this!
- As you breathe, use your thumb to lightly touch each of your fingers.
- When you get to your pinky finger, go backwards to return to your pointer.
- After going back and forth once, exhale as you do the next set. Repeat and remember to concentrate!
- This forces you to focus on tapping each of your fingers and on your breathing.
Shoulder Roll Breathing
Using yoga poses while breathing, this exercise helps reduce tension and anxiety.
- Breathe deeply through your nose and relax
- As you count to 3, inhale and roll your shoulders up to your chin.
- Exhale and roll your shoulders down as you count to 4
- Repeat and focus on your breathing
For more breathing exercises for kids, check out the free breathing printables here:
Movement and Yoga Breaks for Kids at School
Sitting at a desk all day can make you feel restless and jittery. No one wants to sit down all day long, especially not kiddos. Take a break and practice these exercises to get all your wiggles out during school!
Try these simple exercises to shake off the tension before continuing:
- Jumping jacks, high knee jumps, or jump rope
- March, run in place, or skip in a circle
- Dancing is a great way to get the giggles out during a brain break. Put on some fun music and dance!
- Here’s another huge list of awesome movement and brain breaks for kids!
Do a few easy yoga poses
Standing Forward Bend Pose: Stand up tall with your arms above your head before bending down at the waist. Fold your torso over your legs and grab your feet with your hands.
Bridge Pose: Lay on your back and bend your knees. Place your feet flat on the ground and your hands at your sides. Raise your hips and spine off the floor.
Eagle/Wonderwoman Pose: Stand up straight and bend slightly at the hips. Wrap your leg around the other and balance. Do the opposite side with your arms.
Seated Twist: Sit with your legs out in front of you. Bend one knee up and put your foot on the other side of your opposite leg. Put your opposite arm on your bent knee and twist. Switch sides and repeat.
Frog/Spiderman Pose: Squat down like you are a frog and bounce on the ball of your feet. Press your palms together and stretch into the pose
Airplane/Superman Pose: Stand on one leg with the other raised behind you. Bend at the waist and put your arms out in front of you.
Make your own superhero pose!
Superheroes can be great role models for kids. They show strength, confidence, and kindness while fighting for good. Your kiddos will love doing some awesome superhero poses too!
After School Mindfulness Activities and Crafts for Kids
After a long day at school, your kids will love doing these activities and crafts with you to wind down. They can encourage mindfulness and focus in kids that will help translate to the school day.
Have fun with this simple and silly activity that helps kids recognize their emotions! Kids will love playing with these as they learn essential tools for life.
Materials: rocks, acrylic paint, and a piece of paper with an oval drawn on it.
- Use the paint to draw parts of a face onto the rocks
- Only part on each rock.
- One rock is an eye
- One rock is a nose
- Make different emotions on the rocks
- A ‘happy’ smile
- Crying eye
- Different noses
- Have the rocks dry and then make faces on the paper with your rocks
Image and Craft by WhereImaginationGrows
Freeze Dance Game:
This fun game will help kids get moving after school along with practicing mindfulness.
Materials: music, space to move, and questions.
- Before beginning, ask your kids how they are feeling about this activity.
- Start the music you prepared (playlists and Pandora are great for this). You want a variety of music playing for you and your kids to dance to.
- As you dance, think about how you feel.
- At some point, stop the music and freeze.
- Then, ask questions so they can reflect.
- What sensations while dancing did you feel?
- What is different about freezing?
- What emotions are you feeling?
- Prompt them to do certain things during and after
- Freeze/move how the song makes you feel
- Freeze in a shape of a superhero, animal, letter, etc
- Dance like an animals, ballerina, etc
- Have fun and dance!
Game idea from MindfulSchools
Get moving and mindful with this fun and simple activity! This is perfect for any time of the year.
- Talk a walk (indoors or outdoors)
- Look for something in each color of the rainbow
- Point them out (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple) and talk about how they make you feel. What emotions do you recognize?
- Take a picture, draw them, or journal about what you see (if wanted)
- Discuss what each person saw. Did you see the same things? What kind of things?
Idea from Mindful Teachers
I love coloring and it’s a great way to practice mindfulness. While you color, think about why you chose the colors you’re using. Reflect on your day and how coloring makes you feel.
Here are some fun mindfulness coloring books for kids too.
Happi’s World by Susan Tolbert
Awesome Dinosaurs Coloring Book for Kids Ages 4-8 by Rockridge Press
Mindful Coloring for Kids by Insight Kids
Yoga Coloring Book for Kids: Mindful and Stress Relieving Activity Book by Melody Verduzco
Mandala Coloring Book for Kids by Joy Tree Games and Activities
Mindfulness Journaling Prompts:
Journaling is an excellent way for kids to understand and recognize their emotions. It also provides confidence, stability, and promotes creativity and reflection.
This is not just for kids either… I love to journal and use my Silk and Sonder journal every day. (They have mindfulness journals for kids too!)
Try these fun prompts to write about.
- Name three qualities you like about yourself
- What makes you feel like a strong person?
- Why is it important to congratulate someone when they’ve done well?
- How do you think confidence relates to happiness?
- What makes you happy?
- Make a list of ten things you are good at.
- How can you help other people feel confident?
- Think of something you would like to do better. How do you achieve this?
- What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done?
- Write about someone you admire. What qualities do you share with them?
Prompts from Journal Buddies
Yoga Routine and Poses to Calm and Wind Down
Doing a little yoga before bed is an excellent way to relax and get ready to sleep. Combined with breathing exercises and mindfulness, this is the perfect thing to get your kiddos to wind down.
Use animal themed poses, or choose a different theme that fits your child’s interests.
Bird Pose: Stand up tall and find a point ahead of you to focus on. Lift a foot behind you and balance.
Tree Pose: Still standing, rest your foot on the side of the opposite leg. Balance and switch after a minute.
Butterfly Pose: Sit down with your back straight. Press the bottoms of your feet togethers and breathe.
Fish Pose: Sit with your legs straight and hands flat by your hips. Lean back and brace yourself on your elbows and forearms, tucking your hands under your hips. Lift your chest up and lean your head gently back to open your heart.
Rabbit Pose: Kneel on the ground with your feet behind you. Bend over at the waist and place the top of your head on the ground. Hold your arms back by your legs or up above your torso.
Pig Pose: Lay on your back and bend your knees into your chest. Reach between your knees for your feet or ankles and press your feet up while keeping your knees close to your armpits. Rock side to side like a pig rolling in the mud.
Savasana: Lay on your back with your legs straight and arms at your side. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Use breathing buddy or stuffed animal on your tummy to help remind you to breathe slow and steady.
Going back to school is always nerve-wracking, especially nowadays. Both you and your kiddos will love these games, tips, and techniques to make it a little less stressful.
Get back into the school routine easier and encourage mindfulness both in and out of school by using these tips!
Have a very happy September and enjoy returning to school.
Stay safe and stay healthy!