Yoga and Mindful Activities for Anger in Kids
We are delighted to share some words of wisdom written by one of our Connected Kids Tutors, Yvonne Payne.
Yvonne has been working with children using mindful activities and yoga to help them focus and manage strong emotions such as anger.
Yvonne had been telling us about 2 different sessions that were creative and inspirational so we asked her to share this direct experience with you. We hope you find it useful.
“I’ve been working with two boys – each on a 121 basis. The journey so far has helped me change my approach to yoga and meditation – helping me to teach in an intuitive way.
Here’s an insight into their background.”
Challenging Behaviour and Meditation
“Both boys find it difficult to fit into a normal class setting. They find the noise and busyness of the classroom difficult and stressful to deal with. They often find that they are overcome with anger and frustration and take this out on those around them.”
“They are unable to concentrate on the tasks set, which adds to their feelings of not being good enough and total frustration and failure. They find it difficult to express and communicate in a class environment. This leads to aggression and what is often perceived as bad behaviour.”
“They are from different schools but both seven years old. I have been teaching them meditation and yoga for around six months. In this time, they have taught me so much. I have learnt as much from them as they have from me!”
“Initially my lessons were quite structured but I became quite concerned if the session didn’t go as I planned. I remember the first meditation I did just didn’t hold his attention and he didn’t settle at all. I felt as if I had failed.”
Heart-felt Intuition in Teaching Kids
“What i have learned is to allow these sessions to work with and be guided by the boys. I arrive with a theme and ideas I want to work through, but the boys add to and develop these ideas throughout the session. Both boys are creative and imaginative and I find the sessions so inspiring.“
“Here is an example of some of the sessions though there are so many I could write a book!”
“One of the exercises I use is with feathers to help the boys connect to their breath. This can help children focus on the breath as it gives them something tactile to connect their breath to.”
“One boy transformed this exercise when his idea was to create an army assault course. We blew the feather along the yoga mat as if we were going under an army scramble net. We then added other movements such as climbing an imaginary wall, swimming, jumping and other wonderful movements. He was totally engaged with his body and breath as we followed this sequence which came from his imagination and his heart-felt intuition.”
“In another session, I have a piece of material which can become different ‘objects’; from the sea, to a circus prop, becoming a tent, a space ship and all sorts of other creative ideas. I credit the boys for developing these ideas – using their imagination to inspire me. “
“Once, I was guiding the boy to use the material as if he were a chick hatching from the egg. I suggested he start in child’s pose and moved to stand imagining coming from the egg. My lovely wee student had his own interpretation, watching him punch and kick his way out of the egg, working out those difficult feelings we can’t always put into words.”
“Different types of movement are inspired by the boys. Games can turn into something completely new and unique. I allow them to guide the theme of the meditations from movement based, colouring, drawing pictures, looking at crystals, listening to music or discussing a picture book. I have a bag of simple meditation resources which grows every time we meet.”
Creating Meditation Sessions Together with Kids
“I allow myself to follow my heart-felt intuition and allow the boys to guide and inspire me, as I tune into their needs and their energy. Together we create and shape the lesson.”
“Spending time with these boys has taught me to be much more playful. In some ways I have been able to discover an inner child in me that loves to be playful and to have fun and to enjoy just what happens. It has also helped me become confident in my own abilities and am learning to worry less and to accept just what happens (both while teaching and in life!)”
“While we have a great deal of fun in the sessions the boys ability to focus has improved – focusing for an hour or more. They give their full attention to the activities. And the feedback is that they feel good as a result of the session as they share the experience with me.”
“Their mums have given me positive feedback – how much both of them enjoy the sessions and how they are happy and more able to deal with stressful times; while being calmer after the sessions and less angry. I believe that the meditation sessions make them feel positive and valued.”
Yvonne Payne, Connected Kids Tutor, Aberdeen
Often we think of meditation for kids as a seated or still process, but our work demonstrates that for many children they need to work through the emotions and thoughts that link to their anger and frustration. Using movement to release and process is a powerful healer and giving them permission to guide the meditation sessions, as yvonne explains, helps them feel involved and valued.
We hope this has inspired you to try teaching your kids mindfulness and meditation. We know you can make a difference – good luck!
Thanks for that.
Im also noticing that alot of angry lads hold their breath. When having stressful thoughts thereby exaggerating physical stress.Wandering if this is common.
very true. there is a natural reaction to thoughts that can trigger the fight/flight or freeze.
Thank you so much for this inspiring view into your work. I feel really inspired about meditation for children. I work with parents and children who have extreme emotional social and MH difficulties. In my tool box is meditating for children.. but only level 1. Now I want to find out more.
This is fantastic! Thanks for your work and sharing. I’m a mom of a child that has overcome some pretty intense uncontrollable emotions and it took many years to find ways to help him. He’s better now but one of the therapies was occupational therapy, which helped SO much. As we got older he went to physical therapy, where they also did some massage. It was wonderful and it was an amazing to see how the mind-body connection is so powerful!
it really is important – or style of meditation is varied with kids and is depends on the children. Often movement or mindful massage can work wonders.
My grandson is 16 yrs old a;nd is a very good student. He loves school and gets along quite well. His problem is ;that his speech can be difficult to follow for people who don’t know him. Are their teachers in the Los Angeles area that could be of assistance. Where can I refer him to for his speech.
we have teachers in the USA but not in that area. You could try reading our calm kids book, using our teens meditation cd or taking the online course to teach him?
I’m having a hard time with my 14 boy and was hoping to find something to help his anger and frustration in life and at school
Sorry to hear about the difficult time you are having – as a foster mum of a 12 year old boy I can relate!
The first thing is for you to learn some mindful breathing to help you cope – have a look at my videos on the resources link of the website and hopefully you’ll find some help there.
You are so correct. I find this to be be true with students who are academically gifted. Intellectually they are years ahead so the assumption is their emotional level is also advanced. Expectations are set too high for maturity levels. Mindful play, is very important to validate that play greats brain growth and reduces activity in the amygdala. Keep up.the good work and play.
Leave a comment