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Sometimes kids–particularly young kids and particularly young kids with parent in tow–will show up to class and not want to participate. Maybe they’re nervous or don’t feel well or just have no interest in yoga.
Whatever the reason, I don’t recommending (either you or the parent) forcing a child to join in. Kids who really don’t want to join in are often disruptive to the rest of the class and will wind up resenting you (or yoga) if forced to participate.
My recommendation when this happens is to either (a) invite the child to sit on the mat in the circle with you and just watch, or (b) invite the child to sit outside the circle with mom or dad and observe.
Either way, however, be sure to assure the child that s/he may join in at any time if s/he likes.
If the child is sitting in the circle watching, watching, watching and then suddenly does something, a little praise and encouragement can go a really long way. BUT…keep in mind that sometimes the reason a child sits out in the first place is because s/he is shy and doesn’t like attention. In which case, a little praise and encouragement can go a really long way…to freak the child out and make him or her run away. If you do see that type of reaction, sort of “ignore” the child for the rest of class. I put that in quotes because, of course, you will never ignore a child (!), but don’t single that child out–positively or negatively–until you have a sign that the attention is welcome.
If the child is sitting out with a parent, keep an eye on him or her and see if there is any attempt to follow along from afar (it will often happen). If so, perhaps invite the child to join the circle and, of course, mom or dad can come to if the security helps.
And that’s the mini yogis minute tip of the week. Check back every week to learn something new!
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