The Main Ingredient
Getting the attention of kids can be hard at times. You go into a classroom or studio and the kids would rather talk to each other than listen to the teacher. Or maybe they sit at home playing video games, not even answering, let alone stopping the game to do yoga with you.
To make it more challenging, once you have their attention, who knows how long you will keep it.
So when faced with this challenge, let’s go back to basics and look at the foundation of the class. There is one ingredient that will actually help with getting kids attention as well as many other problems. In reality, it is what yoga is all about: Relationships.
People love yoga because it gives them a feeling of Oneness and connection. It develops the relationship between body, mind, and spirit to understand and link these parts. One aspect does not dominate the others, you feel connected not disconnected. You feel healthy; you have developed an authentic relationship with yourself and the world around you falls into perspective.
Authentic Relationships
The main ingredient to getting and keeping kids’ attention is also relationships. A group of kids is made of individuals. These relationships need developing by understanding and connecting with each child. Real problems may arise in getting attention if you forget about these relationships. You can have authority without dominating the class, bossing them around and demanding they do things. There is nothing authentic or yogic about this type of relationship, it is out of balance.
2 Tools for Authentic Relationships in the Classroom
  1. Intention: Set your intention before you go to teach yoga. What type of relationship do you want to have with the children? What were your most loved teachers like? How about your most feared? Use this information and your own feelings to create an intention of the relationship you want to have with the kids, both for your own kids and the ones you teach.
  2. Awareness: When I go into a class I always take a few seconds to look around the room and see what is going on before starting. Where are the kids? What is the mood of the room? Are the kids full of energy or lying on the floor? What are the leader kids doing? I also look at my own mood in that moment. Am I holding my intention or expecting trouble.

Bring Authenticity to Yoga
In a yoga class, I start talking with the kids who are ready by asking them how they are doing and listening to their answers. Very soon most of the kids are joining in the conversation and they want to be seen and acknowledged. I start making eye contact with each child as they join us, which does wonders.

If a child isn’t looking my way, I make a point to calmly recognize what they are doing and telling them we want to wait for them so we can all start yoga together. I’ll say, “Let me tell you what we’re going to do today while you get in place.”

When approaching a small group of children, or one child, it works very well to connect with them first before suggesting something like yoga. It’s amazing how sitting relaxed and getting interested in what they are doing does wonders to create an authentic relationship. What activity are they working on currently? How long have they been doing it?

After the connection is established, when it feels right, you can suggest they join you for yoga and tell them why you think they will want to do it.

People want to be with each other and do things together when they feel loved and understood.

The attention I give is inevitably the attention I get back.
There are a lot of other tools to attracting everyone’s attention, but this has to be said first. It is very basic, but sometimes the basics get overlooked and that is when the rest becomes a real struggle.


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