The Zendoway Cubes are the best. I love to see the imagination of a child when given a cube; such as your son dance his way to happy!! I am a children's yoga teacher in New Orleans at The Wild Lotus Yoga Studio. Music, dance, art, and singing are a big part of our Bhakti Children's yoga practice. In my children's yoga classes I have been using the cube "I LOVE ME". This is especially great around the Valentine's Day celebration as well as for special Family Yoga sessions. The whole family can have fun with this cube and all of the other cubes. I like to use the cube in the beginning of class to introduce the theme and get the child's input. Discussion and activity around the "roll of the emotional dice" is a great way to begin a yoga class. The kids use their own imagination, feelings, thoughts from within themselves to to create the class they need and want. The cubes allow this to happen easily! I love this prop it has been a great addition to my yoga classes; most importantly the cubes teach me I think more than they teach the kids!! Thanks Kerry beautiful yoga from your heart to the hearts of kids everywhere, especially at The Wild Lotus Yoga Studio. We are Bhakti all the way!! Love and Namaste, Charlotte
Practice these five poses every day and notice the changes you feel in your body and mind. These brand new pose cards will challenge you and your family with balance, flexibility, mindfulness, and more. It will only take minutes each day to gain lifelong skills and health benefits. This yoga card deck includes thirty poses including partner poses, confidence building pose mantras, and fun games to play together using the Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards.
The Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards include:
About the Author
Sara J. Weis is the author of Go Go Yoga for Kids: A Complete Guide to Using Yoga with Kids and the creator of The Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards. She is a certified kid and adult yoga instructor and holds a master’s degree in education with over 18 years of teaching experience. Using all of her knowledge and experience, Sara has created and kid tested hundreds of yoga games, lessons and movement ideas that will help instill the lifelong benefits of yoga in all kids.
Get free kids yoga lesson plans and games at gogoyogakids.com and more information on the poses gogoyogakids.com/posecards/
Work and home used to have much cleaner boundaries before the age of 24/7 connectivity. We blend work with just about everything, but then compartmentalize how we view work versus our personal life and outside activities. We forget to compare the amount of time and energy we spend on each, which then quickly creates an imbalance between work and “other.” This split in two directions can cause anxiety because we are fearful or uneasy about how we manage our life.
In order to be the best you can be, all aspects of your life need to be in balance. If you are working too much, then you will not have the energy to do things when you are not at work. If you play too hard outside of work, then you will not have the energy for your job.
A Word on BalanceBalance is a tricky thing. It is not certain that absolute balance is possible at any given time. What is possible, however, is a balance on average, over time. Our lives are not steady and work is constantly changing, so the reality is that some days will require you to focus more on work, and other days more on personal life – tipping you off balance. The key is to counter-balance your activities in order to bring your energy and focus closer to center.
Through much trial and error, I have landed on six guiding principles that I personally practice and advocate for all my friends and family, and through my corporate work at Actualize Consulting. We give each new hire a soft squeezable “Zendoway Cube” that I created, with different prompts printed on each side as a reminder of these daily principles.
1. BreatheThe truth is that many of us forget to breathe during the day. Yes, we breathe enough to stay alive, but we don’t breathe in ways that take full advantage of the powerful ally our breath can be. In times of stress, we can turn to our breath for relief. It’s free, easy to access, and an effective antidote to the anxiety and physical symptoms of stress.
The next time you find yourself stressed, upset at a co-worker, about to scream, wanting to hide under your desk, or just go home sick – take a moment to breathe. Another cube I developed is “Breathing” with fun, simple prompts for intentional breathing:
3. CommunicateOne of the most vital aspects of success in any personal or professional relationships is communication. It’s the thread connecting us one another. Without effective communication, ideas aren’t shared, collaborations suffer, relationships break, and leaders become dictators.
There is one communication technique in particular that is easy to remember in the heat of the moment. It comes from an old saying suggesting we ask ourselves three questions before speaking our words:
4. MoveMovement is another way of taking care of your well being. Don’t picturing me sending you to the gym for a workout, that’s not what I’m talking about here. I learned in my yoga training that opposites heal. Many of the aches and pains we experience are due to us not moving our bodies. We are not made to sit all day every day; we need to do the opposite of sitting, and move. Be creative in how you choose to move, using simple exercises at your desk, walking a few minutes every hour, dancing, or taking time to play your favorite game.
5. NourishThe principle of nourishment is about more than putting food into our bodies. It’s about taking the time to get to know our own nutrition needs, and to provide for those needs in a way that is life-giving and positive. If we are not eating a well-balanced diet, then our personal performance, whether at home or at work, suffers. Think about the days you might have had a chocolate bar and coffee to get you over that afternoon slump. It may have done the trick for 15 minutes, but then your energy faded out. That’s not a healthy way to nourish yourself. Each day, ask yourself how your food and drink choices are impacting you. Are they fueling and energetic choices or quick fixes to get you by emotionally?
6.RoutineOur daily routine must allow space for us to flourish. I advocate taking time for yourself each day. As a simple start, consider “What inspires you?” Make a list, then complete an activity that inspires you or that you love. In the book, Essentialism, by Greg McKeown, he describes how LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner schedules up to two hours of blank space on his calendar every day. McKeown also points out that Bill Gates takes up to one week each year just to read and think. We also must make time for ourselves to just be in the moment.
ConclusionI know it’s easy to get caught up in all that we have get done each day. It might seem like having to pay attention to your work/life balance is just one more thing to add to the list, but I can promise you it is worth adding. When your life is balanced between work and other activities, you will be more satisfied, more motivated, happier, and healthier.
As McKeown says, we have the option of “living by design, not default.” We have the power to choose what we engage in each day. We can take the initiative to design our life instead of having our life design us. We can choose balance.
This is what happened when I asked my son Blaine to make a Music.ly with one of the #zendocubes.
Originally published via Stress Free Kids. http://bit.ly/2bkfkY6
Both of my kids know by now that I expect them to get perfect marks on their school report cards. Well, at least on one particular section, that is: the “Life, Work, and Citizenship Skills” section. This wonderful section is all about their behavior, the actions they take in relation to themselves and others. For example, categories include: 1.) Takes responsibility for actions 2.) Demonstrates active listening skills 3.) Resolves conflict effectively 4.) Is a respectful and contributing participant in school and 5.) Demonstrates self-control.
My kids know that I care more about their behavior than their Math scores (although those still matter!), and that in our household, being kind is the most important virtue. But the best part is that they get it. They’re not just following parental dictates; they’re learning and making healthy, positive choices for themselves because they want to!
I have learned through plenty of trial and error that effective parenting is not about demands, but about modeling, teaching and creating an environment in which our kids feel safe to express all their emotions. While we all know this isn’t easy, I also want you to know that it might not be as hard as it sounds. The secret? Make the learning fun!
After creating an activity book If It Does Not Grow: Say No for kids to have fun with making healthy eating choices, I wanted a wanted a similar fun way to help start those important conversations about feelings and behaviors -- so I created sets of squeezable cubes with different prompts on every side. My kids have given the ultimate seal of approval: they actually use the cubes!
In this piece, I offer suggestions on how we can use the cubes and other activities to support our children in being compassionate, kind and mindful.
1.Build Trust to Foster Open Communication
I have a deal with my kids that if they tell the truth when something goes wrong, then they will not get in trouble. (As you can imagine, both kids quickly agreed to the deal when they heard the “you won’t get in trouble” part.) I figure if we start with relatively small issues when they are young, when more complex issues arise, I will have already built that trust with them, so we start with admitting things such as, “Mommy, I broke a glass” or “I got in trouble in school today.”
For example, my 8-year-old son recently had an argument with a little girl at school. He told me exactly what transpired, so when I received a note from the teacher, I was able to say, “I am aware and we have discussed it.” Instead of getting angry, we talk about what strategies they could have used to not get upset. I encourage my kids to feel whatever emotion they feel, and then pivot to a more positive emotion, so his 10-year-old sister suggested that he bring the “Feeling” cube to school so he could squeeze it and sort through his emotions! The other prompts on the “Feeling” cube are “I see,” “I am grateful,” “I am proud,” “I feel,” “I wonder,” and “I love,” and any of those could give him a focused way to explore his feelings. Going to school the next day, my son felt empowered to make the right choices.
On a side note, I must share how tickled I was when my son asked to write notes to each other, and in his note to me, he said how he loves the rule that if he breaks something and tells me, he doesn’t get in trouble, “...and that’s why your the best mom ever!!!!!!”
2.Give Responsibilities (Not orders)
I was a latch-key kid who, starting in fourth grade, cooked, cleaned and did the laundry for my family. I believe those early responsibilities played an important part in building my strong work ethic and confidence in my abilities to solve any problem. To instill a similar ethic and confidence with my kids, I treat home chores as a team effort to keep our household functioning --we all have to pitch in and help to ensure the workload is balanced.
I’d love to report that my kids always rush to do their chores, happy to be learning lessons of responsibilities, but of course that’s not the case. Kids are still kids. I have found that when I pester my kids to chip in and do their chores, it simply does not motivate them at all. In fact, sometimes they just dig in their heels and fuss even more about having to do the chores. However, when I instead encourage them by saying things like, “I really love how we work as a team to keep the house in order,” or “I really appreciate how you folded the laundry,” they are much more inclined to actively contribute.
3.Encourage Self Care and Love
One area that took years to for me to learn is allowing myself to take time to care for and love myself. Our culture thrives on being busy, applauding those who are the busiest. I want my kids to know a different way, and to feel fully supported in their needs to maintain daily balance. For instance, my son needs time outside every day after school, while my daughter needs to draw or read. I encourage them both to take the time they each need to regroup after a long day at school.
Another helpful cube is the “I Love Me Affirmations,” with prompts that ask you to write down why you love yourself, create a love dance or song, repeat, “I love me” 10 times, and other similar activities. The self-love affirmation is a powerful tool as we all need that daily reminder that we are awesome.
Using the cubes at the dinner table is an interactive way to spark new conversations and learn about each other. The first time I gave my daughter this cube to roll at the dinner table, she said, “I don’t love anything about myself.” I was baffled, since she shows a consistent front of self-confidence and happiness. With further conversation, I was able to figure out that she just had a bad day and was temporarily feeling down on herself, which we can all relate to. I was so grateful that the cube facilitated that conversation so I could support her!
4.Make Family Fun a Priority
Wonderful memories are made from family fun and play, so we make it a priority to play, sing, dance, and be silly every day. At breakfast and during our morning routine, I put on music and set our “Play” cube on the counter. Before I used this strategy, our mornings were full of bickering and rushing. Now our routine is to start the day with light-hearted interaction and fun, with the sides of the “Play” cube setting the tone for the day.
Some of the “Play” prompts are: “Do something kind for someone you know or a stranger,” “Play ‘I Wonder,’” “Move or stretch your body in six different ways,” “Dance. Move all your body parts while dancing,” Magically, with very little effort, the tone is set for having a positive and productive day.
5.Model and Teach Self-Regulation
Many times we are quick to tell others how to feel rather than allowing them to just feel whatever it is so it can dissolve. More important than our initial reaction is how we self-regulate to feel the anger, frustration or sadness and then move to a peaceful feeling. Just walking away for a few moments to breathe is a simple strategy, and if we parents model and teach this behavior, our kids will also use their breath rather than harsh words or knee-jerk actions. In fact, just yesterday when my son was getting frustrated with his sister, I saw him take a deep breath and just walk away.
The “Breathing” cube reminds us to breathe -- a simple but powerful calming action. I donated the breathing cubes to my kid’s school and another local school, and they use them in the classrooms as a tool to either squeeze or bring the class back to peace with simple breathing techniques. I also use them at home and in my yoga classes as well to teach and talk about the power of our breath to calm and soothe us in any situation, whether it’s to pivot a negative emotion or prepare us for taking a test.
6.Say You’re Sorry
In my classrooms and at home, we have a do-over policy, and we all say we are sorry when an apology is warranted. I am not a perfect mom, and sometimes in a busy day, I fail to be a good role model and yell instead of using all the strategies above. When this happens, I typically get angry with myself, berating myself for messing up...and then I remember I am human. I apologize to my kids and ask them for a do-over. In turn, my kiddos are quick to apologize and take accountability for their actions. We then talk about how emotions are challenging to manage and that we have so many tools to use, yet when we don’t use them successfully, we take accountability and say we are sorry. We begin again.
One of the prompts on the “Play” cube is to “Write a letter or create a card for a loved one. (Hand deliver or mail it to them).” That card or letter could be a creative way for your kid (and you!) to say “I’m sorry.”
In a culture that is often fueled by complaints and a focus on what’s wrong in the world, we can all use a good dose of gratitude. I feel it’s important to teach our kids how to appreciate things and focus on what they are grateful for, and have found it’s not hard to start a gratitude routine. When my kids and I gather for dinner, we each share what we are grateful for. Some days the kiddos are all into it, but other days they roll their eyes, like “oh great, here we go again.” So I just start by sharing my own gratitude, and the kids always come around, joining in willingly after all.
We also do our gratitude practice when guests or friends are with us for dinner, and usually everyone joins in. Apparently gratitude is contagious!
The “Feelings” cube also gives us a more random way to practice gratitude. One of the prompts is “I am grateful...” so we get to pay attention to what we appreciate at that exact moment. Of all the lessons I hope we can teach our kids, I hope we teach -- and model -- kindness, compassion, and mindfulness.
I created If It Does Not Grow – Just Say No: Eatable Activities for Kids for children of all ages to discover how much fun they can have with fruits and vegetables. As a mom, I want my kids to eat healthy foods, and I found myself getting frustrated when they just weren’t interested. That’s when I decided to try a fun-based approach, using enjoyable activities to encourage my kids to eat fruits and vegetables. This simple activity book empowers kids to explore healthy eating and living while helping them see just how much better they will feel eating foods that support their energy.
One of my favorite interactive ways to have kids try new foods is to play the brave game. My kids love this activity because they get to choose if they will test out the new fruit or vegetable, and watch each other’s reactions. Below are the steps for you to guide your kids in the brave exercise:
1.) Ask your kids if they are brave. Of course they will say YES I am brave!
2.) Ensure you have plenty of fruits and vegetables on hand that they have never tried before or already tasted and did not like. Many times, as their taste buds mature, the kids will change their minds on things they once thought tasted bad.
3.) Next ask your kids if they want to taste a new (or previously “yuck!”) fruit or a vegetable, then allow them to select from the options.
4.) Encourage them to take a bite of their chosen fruit or vegetable, and then discuss what it tasted like, smelled like, felt like. If they decided not to try, simply ask why not?
5.) Repeat this process over and over. It never gets old! The book includes tracking charts for this fruit and vegetable challenge (plus a fruit-as-dessert challenge!)
TIP: I have found that offering incentives and doing this activity as a family is most effective.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be a chore for your kids or for you. Make it fun and creative, and you will be building healthy habits for a lifetime.
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