TYLER (KYTX) - Parents, we all want happy, healthy kids. In the summer, the challenge becomes keeping them busy, their minds engaged and their bodies active. A local yoga instructor is launching a new online tool for kids, parents, medical professionals and teachers. In this week's Undercover Mother, how the health and fitness classes can help create calm and focus at your house this summer and into the school year.
Lauren Wade is a busy, energetic 7-year old. Parents, sound familiar?
"I think it will give them a good way to focus their energy and stay calmer inside, yet active at the same time," says Elizabeth Wade, mom.
Her mom, Elizabeth, is getting her to try the new happy healthy kids online yoga video from the comfort of her living room. "That's perfect. You don't have to schedule it, you just have to be there and do it when you need to," says Elizabeth.
Elizabeth is busy too, taking her kids from one activity to the next and she's a working mom, a licensed professional counselor in Jacksonville.
"You get home, you're doing dinner and you are trying to get everything taken care of. To schedule another activity is very difficult. Our kids, both of them, are very involved. This is a great idea. We can do it during the day, in the morning before we go to work, at lunchtime sometime and we don't have to go anywhere to do it," says Elizabeth.
Kristi McDonald is the yoga instructor behind the health and fitness website. For years she's taught yoga camps for kids, but felt parents needed more yoga outlets for their children.
"Kids schedules are just as busy as ours. They have soccer, swimming, tennis and usually they have siblings and they are trying to coordinate schedules. That's what is great about this. They can get on when they are available or when they need it," says Kristi McDonald, Yoga Instructor and founder of happyhealthykidsonline.com.
This online yoga studio offers a variety of courses: yoga therapy for kids, classes for parents, teachers, occupational and physical therapists and even other yoga instructors. There will also be martial arts and creative arts classes on happyhealthykidsonline.com, plus a free summer reading guide.
"Because the kids are at home during the summer, I think during the school year, parents are busy and school keeps kids busy, but when they are actually at home, they want to give them more to do than play video games and watch TV. In East Texas, it is very hot, so being able to stay active and inside is important too," says Kristi.
Experts say yoga is just as beneficial for kids as it is for us. It teaches self-discipline, self-control and it creates calm, better flexibility, balance and coordination. Kristi says she's never taught a class where a child didn't like yoga or learn something.
"It is just structured differently, so it is shorter because their attention spans are shorter. There have been some studies done where it improves overall great point averages in the class," says Kristi.
Happy Healthy Kids Online gives parents the tools to integrate these practices into their everyday lives with the classes -- Creating Calm, Creating Focus and Creating Energy. That's actually for anti-bullying and self-esteem.
"Any of the classes I have available for parents come with a down-loadable guide for the postures and why they work. It also gives you a link to a private forum where you can talk with the instructors. So, it would make your household overall calmer," says Kristi.
Elizabeth believes yoga can be valuable for a lifetime whether you tap into it at school, home and work to deal with stress; or you use it for exercise.
"Physical and mental health are very connected and yoga would be a great way to increase it even more," says Elizabeth.
Kristi is hoping to create more mini-yogis working towards the website's goal to inspire community well-being by focusing on the health and happiness of the family and child.
Members of Happy Healthy Kids Online will get a private consultation and evaluation by a licensed yoga specialist and ongoing online support.
Subscriptions start at $8.99 a month. There are also yoga and other courses you can buy individually and some for free.