Children sometimes seem to be endlessly active and incredibly flexible, so you may not realize how important stretches can be for them. However, by incorporating some stretches like those available on Stretch into your child’s daily routine, you can set them up for a healthy lifestyle.
1. Child’s Pose
It may come as no surprise that a yoga stretch called Child’s Pose is a good option for kids. This stretch is very easy to do, relaxing, and perfect to work out kinks in the back from sitting at a desk all day or right after waking up. As an added advantage, it’s very easy for you to do with your child as well.
- Kneel down with turn toes touching
- Slowly bend over until the forehead touches the ground. Arms can be at the sides or stretched out in front of the head
2. Overhead Stretch
This is a very natural stretch that many children do whether you encourage them to or not. This makes it one of the best stretches to get your child started with a stretching routine.
- Stand up straight
- Stretch arms over the head as far as possible
- Keep the back straight, and don’t lock elbows
3. Stretch Arms Back
You will love this stretch because it is an easy next step from the overhead stretch and also because it helps your child learn balance. It may be a good idea to stand behind your child at the beginning in case they stumble.
- Stand with arms outstretched and thumbs pointing downward
- Push arms backward as far as they will go, pushing the shoulder blades together
4. Bow Stretch
This stretch may be easier for your child than it is for you, something they will surely get a kick out of. One of the best ways to encourage your child to love a stretch routine is to give them confidence that they are good at it, maybe even better than Mom or Dad.
- Lie flat on the belly
- Hold the knees and grab each ankle with one hand over the back
- Lift the chest and raise the knees so that the only thing making contact with the ground is the belly
5. Spine Stretch
This simple pose is perfect for stretching out the spine and can also help to strengthen the stomach. It is an ideal stretch for first thing in the morning or after a long day of sitting at a desk at school and pairs very well with the Child’s Pose.
- Lie on the belly with the elbows bent
- Push the chest up with the hands while leaving feet and legs on the ground
- Raise the upper body as far as possible to feel the stretch in the spine
6. Touch the Toes
Here is another position which your child may be able to achieve more easily than you can. If your child gets into the habit of being able to touch their toes regularly when they are young, they will lengthen the hamstring and likely be more flexible going forward in life.
- Sit on the floor with legs straight out
- Bend forward and touch or grab toes with the hands
- Hold for several seconds before releasing
Are Stretches Important for Children?
Kids are always on the move, so it can be hard for grown-ups to think about providing more physical activity for them. However, in part because of the fact that children are constantly pushing their bodies in new ways, stretching is an important activity for kids.
Stretching makes kids more flexible, can reduce feelings of stiffness, prevent sore muscles, and make a muscle tear less likely. Getting into the habit of stretching early in life may help children to stick to this habit as they get older, which will make them into more flexible young adults and perhaps prepare them for sports and athletic activities.
Teaching your children the value of stretching also instills the importance of physical health and exercise, which may prevent them from becoming overweight as they get older.
When is the Best Time for Children to Stretch?
Anytime of the day is a good option for stretching, although it is best to avoid stretching right after a large meal since it may cause cramping or an upset stomach. The last thing that you want is to create a negative association for your child with stretching, so err on the side of safety and only stretch once your child has had time to digest their food.
A good time for stretching is first thing in the morning. Stretching in the morning sets your child up for a healthy day and helps to work out any kinks from the night.
It is also a great way to help your child get the blood moving and encourage them to get up and going when they may be groggy. Many stretches can be performed right in bed, so it’s a good way to encourage your child to get moving before they even get out of bed.
Enjoy Simple Stretches With Your Child
Simple stretches are a great way to get your child used to a daily exercise routine. They can help get the blood flowing and make your child more flexible as they get older. This is a very simple way to prepare your child for a healthy lifestyle.