preposition \ ˈtwēn \
definition 1: between
definition 2: a boy or girl who is 9 to 13 years old
definition 3: a person who is not a kid and is not a teenager
definition 4: youth stuck in an in-between vortex, trying to navigate from child to teenager.
As you can see from the results of a quick Google search (plus some of our musings at NJ Yoga Collective!), there isn’t a perfectly clear definition of who qualifies as a “tween.” There is, however, one thing we can all agree on: being a tweenager is hard!
Tweens come into my yoga studio each week and, like adults, they unroll their mats with all sorts of emotions.
Tweens come into my yoga studio each week and, like adults, they unroll their mats with all sorts of emotions. Last spring I had a girl come into class crying because she was upset that her younger brother was getting an iPhone for his birthday; another day I had a group arrive still reeling after a chaotic bus ride. Each time, you could feel the stress in the room. The beauty of my work as a youth yoga teacher is that I spend my days helping these amazing beings alleviate some of that stress and learn techniques to manage their stress when yoga isn’t on their agenda.
Here are my top five tips for guiding tweens to the mat, keeping them there, and helping them destress from the daily rush.
5 Tips for Teaching Yoga to Tweens
Relax – Tweens are smart; they can smell fear a mile away and they will catch on real quick if you are trying to be something you are not. Just be yourself with the kids, learn to laugh at yourself and realize each and every class will not go 100% as planned. Let go of your expectations.
Make it fun – Tweens are still kids and kids love nothing more than to have fun! I include games in all of my yoga classes and camps and the kids LOVE it! Playing games (such as balancing blocks or musical mats) during yoga class helps to build confidence, build camaraderie between the kids and the games also work as a great icebreaker for larger groups or shy kids.
Share – Tweens want to learn more about you. This helps them relate to you on a personal level. They begin to see you more as a person and less as an adult/teacher. Often times, I share stories with my tweens about my own kids. I’ll tell them funny things that have happened in our house or maybe a joke one of my kids told me, they love this! The kids will relax and share more if they relate to you.
Challenge them – Tweens love a challenge, whether it’s mastering a difficult posture, winning a friendly tree pose competition (to see who can hold the pose longest) or sharing about themselves, all challenges lead to growth, which helps to build confidence.
Savasana – Tweens today are busy! Introduce your students to savasana during the first class. I love to watch the kids fidget and giggle and move around during their first experience with savasana….as the weeks go on, they get quieter and quieter and more and more still…they now ask for savasana in the beginning of class! Kids need time to unplug, relax, and be still….be sure to offer them this time in each and every class ☺
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