Handling a Rambunctious Kids Yoga Classroom
I am devoted to your blog and have received many wonderful tips and ideas from you. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with the public.
I have just started to teach children yoga this year and am having a wonderful time and have been learning a lot along the way. I have a question. I see that each of my classes has a different energy depending on the place, age and time of day the class is being held. One of my classes of 5-8 year olds is VERY rambunctious. This class typically begins with the kids putting down their mats and running all around.
Do you have any ideas how to use that energy in a different way? Are there games that you have used in the beginning of a class while waiting for everyone to come? What do you do to start your classes with highly energized kids?
Thanks so much.
Thanks for your question Jennifer.
Great question – I used to have classes like this and I’m sure others have too, the class is out of hand before you even begin to teach. There are situations where the kids can play in the studio/room. But how can we keep things relaxed, calm, and fun before class begins? What you do sets the tone for that class and the others that follow.
Structure the Time Before Kids Yoga Class
One thing to remember is you are the teacher and you set the tone of the class. Before the kids enter the room you can tell them what you expect. In my classes, I don’t usually lead activities before the class starts. If the class starts at 4 pm, I don’t usually do games or anything at 3:45 pm.
But there are a few things I do that helps to keep that time more structured:
- Bathroom, drinks, snacks: some kids come straight from school, so I remind everyone to go take care of these needs before class so that we don’t have to stop during the class.
- Room set-up: many kids like to help, especially when the help is appreciated. So I usually ask the kids to put out the mats for themselves and the other kids.
- Play Relaxing Music: before the class starts I’ll put on one of the kids favorite songs or meditations and sometimes they sit and relax, meditate, or dance while the other kids are arriving.
- An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure: While I greet people arriving, I keep an eye on what’s happening inside the room so that I can address any issues before they get too big. If it is getting loud or too fast I quietly and personally talk to the children involved about how I want them to behave. Just in a firm voice saying short directions like “talk a little softer,” or “slow it down please.” I’m not angry, just firm. Some kids get redirected to another activity like setting up the mats for me. I talk to them almost in a whisper so it is just between us and they aren’t singled out. I don’t holler their name across the room – it’s too challenging and too public.
This structure helps keep the kids focused and following your class guidelines. Part of the experience of teaching kids is developing you “teacher” personality. It is finding the right tone to use to establish the rules, a tone that you feel good about and so do the kids, a tone that lets the kids know that this is the way things are going to be, but we are still having fun.
It is a big part becoming a kids yoga teacher. But it builds you completely.
I’ll post more about this next time.
Jennifer now writes her own blog, which I encourage you to check out, Karma Spot, Yoga Experiences for Families to take from their Mats into Life