Hi Readers — Please note that this guest post is not ANTI yoga for kids. Nothin’ wrong with bending and stretching, no matter what age. What IS wrong, says Hara Estroff Marano, editor at large at Psychology Today and author of the inspiring, insightful and all together fabulous book A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting, is when yoga becomes a substitute for good old-fashioned free play. When I was asked to be on Fox News today for a feature on kiddie yoga, I deferred to Hara — a friend — because I figured she’d have a more fully formed opinion. And boy did she! Voila! – L.
YOGA FOR KIDS? by HARA MARANO
Yoga for kids. What’s next?
I think it is a mad idea, an example of an adult activity foisted on kids. It is not an activity children gravitate to on their own.
Look, for millions of years kids have found ways to run, jump, gambol, hide, seek and otherwise enjoy themselves, burn energy, gain social skills, exchange and build knowledge from their peers, and otherwise create a cohort…all the while building their brain (which is what active play does).
Yoga is a solitary exercise, not something kids need more of.
Kids don’t need to learn how to shut out the world, they need to learn how effectively engage in it. They need activities and they have been great at devising them over the millennia: activities that stimulate brain growth factors ( which active, contact play does), that encourage them to learn how to negotiate their differences with other children, that build social skills, that allow them to come together and invent activities that in some way address the world they are inheriting, and that subtly mold them into a unique generation or cohort with its own sensibilities.
Kids don’t need yoga.
Yes, kids need quiet activities sometimes. But activities of their own devising, not handed down, ready-made from the adult world.
This is just another way parents impose on children what children don’t need. Children have other needs, and parents make the mistake of rationalizing that what is good for them is therefore good for their children. It’s a real blindness to children’s developmental needs.
In addition to misunderstanding kids’ needs, kiddie yoga IS a way of shielding them from the real world, a world where kids have to learn how to engage with on their own terms, a world that is much more active. Parents would rather see their kids sit quietly in a gym than run with other kids in a playground or park.
Children allowed to play freely are in possession of the best stress-reduction method in the world, one adults tend to look back on with great fondness. – H.E.M.
Can’t you see? Kids need to PLAY!