Incorporate yoga and mindfulness into your back-to-school routine to help calm your child’s anxiety.

Back-to-school is a time of change, new routines, and uncertainty for children and families, so it’s not uncommon for it to bring nervousness and anxiety in little ones. Help soothe those jitters with these five back-to-school yoga poses and mindfulness practices. 

If you’re new to yoga, here is our complete guide to yoga poses for children and the benefits they can provide.

1. Deep Breathing – Pencil Breath

A young boy practicing meditation for back-to-school

Take your child’s favourite school pencil and have them hold it upright in one hand. Have them take a big deep belly breath in through their nose as they use their finger from the opposite hand to trace from the bottom of the pencil all the way to the top. Pause. Then have them exhale through their mouth as they trace back down the pencil. Repeat five times.

Using a familiar object like a pencil will help remind your child at school that they can use their deep breathing when they are feeling anxious at school.

2. Child’s Pose

A yoga instructor demonstrating child's pose
Image provided by Michelle Faber

This is a favourite pose among students as it creates deep relaxation and makes them feel safe. Start by having your child kneel on the mat, then sit on their heels. Then have them stretch their arms forward and rest their head on the mat. Encourage them to take long, deep breaths here.

3. Warrior II Pose

A yoga instructor demonstrating warrior II pose.
Image provided by Michelle Faber

This pose gives children a sense of confidence and strength as they stand tall and fierce like a warrior. Have your child stand facing the front of their mat with their feet wide apart. Have them turn their right ankle so their toes point to the front of their mat then have them bend their right knee while keeping the left leg straight. Have your child extend their arms out to the sides and look toward their right hand. Encourage your child to say affirmations like “I am brave” and “I am strong” as they hold this pose (scroll down to see more positive affirmations for back-to-school jitters).

4. Legs Up the Wall Pose

A yoga instructor demonstrating legs up on wall pose
Image provided by Michelle Faber

This pose helps to calm the nervous system. Children can practice this right before heading out the door to school or even at bedtime the night before school. Have your child sit down, facing a wall, with their body as close to the wall as possible. Have them lower their back, shoulders, and head to the floor, sweeping their legs up to the wall and flexing their feet. Then, have your child stretch their arms out to the sides like a “T.” Encourage them to close their eyes and begin to practice deep belly breathing. Stay here for 2-3 minutes if you can!

5. A Happy Place Meditation

A yoga instructor demonstrating meditation
Image provided by Michelle Faber

Practice this at bedtime to ease anxiety the night before school. Have your child sit in a comfortable position or lay down next to you. Have them place their hands on their bellies. Then, with eyes closed, have them think of their happy place. It can be anything! Their cottage, a friend’s house, their cousin’s house, the beach. Have them think of how that place makes them feel happy, calm, and safe. Who is in their happy place? Imagine all their favourite people are there. Smile. They can stay in their happy place for as long as they like. Remember to take deep breaths as they visualize their happy place. 

Positive Affirmations for Back-to-School

Incorporate these positive affirmations into your child’s back-to-school routine to help them build confidence and practice healthy emotional regulation techniques.

While your child flows through the above yoga poses for back-to-school, have them repeat their favourite affirmations out loud or silently to themselves. 

  1. Each day is a fresh start.
  2. I am ready to make new friends.
  3. I am excited to learn something new today.
  4. I can reach my goals.
  5. I can do hard things.
  6. I am a thoughtful and caring friend.
  7. I am full of good ideas. 
  8. I will show up and try my best.
  9. It’s okay to learn at my own pace. 
  10. I can be a leader.
  11. I will be kind to myself and others. 
  12. I am smart and capable.
  13. I work hard.
  14. I respect myself and make good choices. 
  15. It’s okay to make mistakes! Mistakes help me learn and grow.
  16. I am creative.
  17. I can always try again.
  18. I believe in myself. 
  19. I am good at problem-solving.
  20. It’s okay to ask for help when I need it.
  21. I am proud of myself.
  22. I embrace new opportunities. 
  23. I am grateful for all that I have.
  24. I am loved no matter what.
  25. I’ve got this!

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About the Author

Michelle Faber is the Founder and CEO of Little Yogis Academy. She is dedicated to making the tools of yoga & mindfulness accessible and available to all children.