Are you grappling with effective classroom management within your children’s yoga classes?
Done the training, learnt the poses, perfected your lesson planning, ready to go … and then the children arrive. They are chatty, unable to focus at the end of the school day, running around the space, not listening and getting their attention seems near impossible. Please know that you are not alone, and that some days are going to be more challenging than others. It is completely normal to have times where things go a little awry and the carefully-crafted lesson plan flies out the window! Effective classroom management can greatly assist you when things feel a little pressured.
When children are seeking attention, whether positive or negative, a mantra I always come back to is, “All behaviour is communication!”
Then breathe deeply, come back to centre, reassess the situation and find ways to engage the children in order to manage the challenging behaviour.
It can often be that by implementing some subtle changes into the space, a huge difference is made to the experience of your students, as well as your own confidence as a teacher.
Here are some valuable techniques, which could prove effective in the management your children’s yoga classes:
- Firstly, to enter your classroom/space in a mindful way. Try to be aware of any of your own personal challenges or anxieties BEFORE greeting the children. Leave these at the door and be fully present to hold space for your students. They are little empaths who will often feed off the energy you are carrying.
- Remember that consistency is KEY! Remind the children of the Golden Guidelines gently at the beginning of the class, or have them illustrated in a visual manner. Co-creating these guidelines for acceptable behaviour will go a long way in gaining their ‘buy-in’. Always follow through, and avoid empty promises. Truth creates trust. Consequences are important and sometimes we need to be firm to be kind. Children feel safer and more secure when there are clear boundaries.
- Create engaging and fun lesson plans but remember to be flexible in order to harness the energy of the children in the room. It is important to meet the children where they are, and work towards the goal in unison. Being too rigid will lead to frustrations across the board.
- There are many different teaching techniques and we need to be aware which ones we operate from in order to be able to see what works and what doesn’t within each group. When a class starts to become chatty or rowdy, level out your speaking voice to a low and soft place. The louder they become – the quieter you become… Try not to be reactive, as this simply
escalates any situation. Sound can be a wonderful way to engage with the children, so be prepared for opportunities to sing a song or hum a tune in order to subtly and positively adjust the energy at hand.
- Bringing breathwork into the class at regular intervals is paramount, to either energise or calm the space, depending on what is needed.
- Try to return to your yogic principles at all times, whilst acknowledging the positives in all situations, avoiding negative patterns of speech. Always try to model peace, love and a compassionate attitude, and hopefully they will follow. And when all else fails … just breathe and smile … and know that the next class will be better! Here is a great quote to get you through the wobbly moments:
“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, first you gotta put up with the rain.” – Dolly Parton
Always be prepared to be unprepared! This is an organic and symbiotic relationship which will move in many different directions, depending on the ever-changing aspects at play on any particular day.
The children will ultimately determine the current and direction, and it is our role to facilitate and not dominate.
At the end of the day, remember to enjoy the dance of the class interaction as you flow in and out of their different energy levels, with a clear image of your own engagement style.
Have fun, be kind, be firm and be mindful. Managing a children’s yoga class can be a breeze!