Laughter Yoga for School Children
Researchers tell us that children laugh more than 300-400 times a day during play with their friends, but unfortunately it has all changed now. Today, they are subjected to enormous stress due to academic pressure. Play and physical activity is restricted, new stresses are imposed, adult behavior is demanded at very early age, group play and child-to-child interaction is being replaced with electronic games and remote communication devices.There is a growing awareness of several benefits of laughter and many schools in India and other parts of the world are incorporating laughter yoga as a part of curriculum.
Why Children Need To Laugh More Today
Academic Pressure: Children naturally express themselves through movement, play and laughter. From an early age, they are faced with a highly competitive academic environment which forces them to sit for extended hours. They are pressured by teachers and parents to attain unrealistic goals which leads to serious stress that becomes detrimental to their mental and physical health.
Technology robs them from play: Technology is robbing children of their childhood. Their natural instinct is to play and laugh but, instead they are spending hours glued to their mobile phones, online games and computer screens. When children stop playing, it blocks their source of laughter.
Lack of emotional bonding: Separated parents and those working long hours have forced children to spend more of their time alone. This results in a lack of emotional bonding between them and children are not able to develop their emotional skills.
Negative attitude towards laughter in schools: In schools, children are programmed against laughter. Teachers ask children to stop laughing in the name of discipline and at times they get punished for laughing. They are programmed that laughing is not good, which is one of the reasons they lose their laughter when they grow up.
Benefits of Laughter Yoga for school children
Developing emotional intelligence: Modern studies show children develop emotional intelligence through laughter and play. Those who don’t play enough in their childhood grow up emotionally unbalanced and find it difficult to maintain their relationship with people. Laughter Yoga encourages children to physically play and express themselves fully. Child-like playful behavior is the key to the development of emotional intelligence.
Increases academic performance: Our brain requires 25% more oxygen as compared to other organs. Laughter exercises flushes the lungs of stale residual air improving oxygenation. This helps in better concentration power, increases the learning ability and helps to enhance academic performance.
Improving concentration and attention span: Studies show a huge leap in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Children with this disorder are extremely hyperactive and find it difficult to concentrate for even short periods. They act on impulse and often appear to have no sense of danger. LY exercises help to reduce stress and anxiety for children with ADHD. It helps them to improve their concentration and focus.
Handling stress and boosting their immune system: Children often suffer from frequent sore throats, tonsillitis and upper respiratory infections due to stress and weak immunity. As they learn to laugh unconditionally, they become adept at handling pressure as it boosts their immune system. Laughter Yoga also reduces absenteeism and sick leave.
Builds physical stamina for sports: Builds physical stamina for sports.
Laughter Yoga as curriculum in your school
With growing awareness of the several benefits of laughter, many schools are incorporating Laughter Yoga as part of their curriculum. Several high school books have chapters on Laughter Yoga. For example, the 10th standard Centre Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) English course book (India, Middle East), Japanese high school book “Pow Pow” and the Language course book at Cambridge University has a chapter on origins and benefits of Laughter Yoga.
Do you want to introduce Laughter Yoga into your school? We’ve developed different Laughter Yoga exercises for kindergarten through to 10th standard students. Laughter Yoga is a very economical addition to any school or educational institution. Training costs are low and the only major investment is time. Because Laughter Yoga is fun, it is welcomed and enjoyed by students and staff.
3 Models of Laughter Yoga Program for Schools
Assembly Session: Many schools in India and in other parts of the world have incorporated a five minute Laughter Yoga session during their morning assembly. Since the number of students is very large, the impact of laughter exercises is very profound. One can see a significant change in the energy levels of children which lasts throughout the day.
Laughter Yoga in a Classroom: School teachers can use laughter exercises for a few minutes as an ice-breaker, either at the beginning or end of their periods. It can also be introduced for 5 minutes before children go home. Parents reported that their children came home laughing and smiling.
Laughter Yoga Room: In India and Malaysia, we have set up dedicated Laughter Yoga classrooms where we conduct 30 minute sessions inviting students from different grades. We teach them the basics of Laughter Yoga methods, brain gym exercises as well as how to combine singing, dancing and laughing in the classroom.
Want to incorporate LY in your school