For most early childhood educators, behavioral challenges in children are one of the most taxing aspects of their day-to-day work. Behavioral issues such as inattention, hyper-arousal, withdrawal, anger, frustration, learning difficulties, social anxiety, ADHD, and ODD are just a few of the common challenges educators face.
Due to children’s’ brains still developing, many do not have the skills to accurate verbalize what’s wrong with them. Their behavior is how they express issues.
Due to the world today, children are in a constant state of alertness but don’t have the skills to calm themselves down. They are affected by a lot of stressors in life, such as family, trauma, packed schedules, etc. The way they communicate their responses to these stressors is through their behaviors.
The good news is that research shows that certain activities, such as yoga and meditation, can help alter brain activity. These activities not only burn off excess energy children have, but they also help the brain calm down from the constant stressors and stimulation.
For example, focus on breathe can immediately start to calm the sympathetic nervous system, which is the system that gets engaged in children who are struggling to regulate their behavior. Conscious breathing reverses stress symptoms and calms the sympathetic nervous system. By teaching children breathing exercises, especially one’s tailors towards kids, they learn how to respond to their brains and body when in heightened states.
Yoga and meditation can teach children to identify physical feelings associated with heightened states- such as a sore tummy, fast heartbeat, and butterflies. They then learn how certain actions such as breathing exercises can change these. Simply put, children learn to identify feelings in their body and actions to alter them. This is especially important in children that cannot verbalize what is wrong. If they know how to internally identify and soothe stressors, they don’t need to further frustrate themselves with trying to verbalize it to get help.
Yoga also has additional benefits in children that educators have found. It teaches respect for self and others. It also introduces ideas of gratitude, empathy, compassion, and concentration. Most importantly, it increases body awareness and acceptance in children. This is important later on in life for self-respect and self-confidence.
If your child is struggling with behavioral issues, consider signing them up for one of our yoga classes today.