New Statistics from the BBC reported that half of the UKs young children are not getting enough exercise!

The University of London monitored 6,500 children in order to find out how active children in this country really are and shockingly 51% of children are still not getting the recommend one hour of physical exercise each day.

These statistics suggested that 38% of these were girls compared to 63% for boys.

Here at YogaBugs our aim is to introduce and encourage children from the moment they can start walking to get active through our unique yoga inspired classes.

YogaBugs – Stretching the imagination.

We pride ourselves on helping to educate children along with their parents/carers into the importance of living a healthy lifestyle – eating right and getting enough exercise, no matter how old they are. We offer diet and nutritional information to our parents along with classes that can be done together at home click here to view a sample. Researchers from UCL suggested in their study that it is vital to make sport and other activities more attractive to children, in particular girls.

And that is the beauty of YogaBugs; our classes bring stories to life through specially developed moves inspired by yoga. Combining fun with exercise, children from a young age go on wild adventures where they may roar like a lion, fly like a bird or blast into outer space!

Our unique yoga programmes are suitable for children from walking age – 12 years, encouraging both girls and boys to participate together. Our classes help increase children’s confidence and concentration by encouraging them to be vocal during classes, by expressing their emotions physically and through specially developed yoga-inspired moves that help children to focus.

All children can do YogaBugs to their own ability, they don’t need to be fast, have good hand to eye co-ordination or to be physically fit, all they need is bags full of energy and imagination.

Dr John Middleton Faculty of Public Health said;“We need our children to grow up to be fit and healthy adults, not just because it’s what any civilised society would want for its children, but it’s also best for our economy too”.

Prof Carol Dezateux, one of the lead authors of the research then went on to say;“There is a big yawning gap between girls and boys. We need to really think about how we are reaching out to girls. Our findings are particularly worrying as seven-year-olds are likely to become less active as they get older, not more, no matter what gender.”

The research then went on to explain in order for children to achieve the one hour a day that is recommended, children need to take part in moderate or vigorous activities, which could include anything from brisk walking and cycling to playing football or rugby and running.

This is where YogaBugs is making a difference!

Our yoga programmes have been developed with the help of yoga professionals and individuals experienced with working with children, to help instil a love of exercise from a young age with a big emphasis on the children having fun in a YogaBugs class, as well as getting them active at the same time.

The UCL research is not the first to suggest that children of this generation are not active enough. Previous studies have relied on self-reporting by children or parents/carers estimating the levels of exercise which is not precise. Whereas this research by UCL involved real-time monitoring of the children as they wore and accelerometer to measure the exercise levels, this was attached to an elastic belt around their waist.

Dr Ann Hoskins, of the Public Health England added; “This study highlights that there is still much to do to keep children and young adults active as they grow older.”

At YogaBugs we couldn’t agree more and as a company we are actively seeking individuals who are passionate about yoga and want to help us get kids active, to join our network of talented franchises.

For information about our franchising opportunities and to see if your area is available visit our website www.yogafranchises.co.uk

Sources from: www.bbc.co.uk/news

YogaBugs – Impact and Change

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‘Impact & Change’ is a game changing product produced by YogaBugs

Did you know… every governmental report on children’s health highlights the need for what YogaBugs offers and with schools being given funding to improve Primary School PE, YogaBugs is always on top of the game.

Unlike other children’s activities YogaBugs franchisees benefit from offering a bespoke child development programme, called Impact and Change, to schools and nurseries. This is results driven and adds extra value for Ofsted.

This programme contains class plans around key texts and best of all can be tailored toeach school and at the end of the programme a report is produced detailing the individual and group improvement of the children involved.

YogaBugs is perfectly placed in the Education sector offering a programme that develops children both emotionally and physically which is why schools keep booking us. Want proof? Check out what our customers say here!

You do not need to be a yoga expert to become a YogaBugs franchisee, you just need to be motivated and ideally come from a previous sales background, have a good  head for business and a desire to inspire children to be physically and emotionally active. If this sounds like you, get in contact today!

5 Ways To Make Healthy Eating Fun

What are meal times like in your house? Are they fun, calm happy times or can they be stressful? How healthy are they? Are meal times happier, calmer and more fun the more unhealthy the meal? Typical!

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We all know that we should eat healthy but the reality can be a little bit more difficult. How often do you cook three different meals at the same time for your family? At YogaBugs we know that you and your family need the right fuel to have the energy to have fun. That’s why we are giving you our five top tips to make healthy eating fun.

  1. Dip it – Most kids don’t like eating vegetables and this can cause a lot of tension at meal times. You know they need vegetables so why not see what you can do to disguise them and improve the flavour. We suggest a mild salsa or yoghurt-based dressing.
  2. You are not a cafe – As the parent you are in charge of the evening meal, if you allow yourself to be treated like a restaurant don’t be surprised when your child places an order that is different to what you were intending to cook. Children will mimic adult behaviour. Get into the habit of cooking just the one meal. Take back control of the kitchen.
  3. Carefully introduce new foods – Allow your children to get used to new flavours. Don’t overload their plate, explain that their taste buds will need time to adapt. Also consider who their heroes are. Does their hero eat broccoli? We shall let you decide.
  4. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day – Mornings might be chaotic but you need to make the most of them. Find a cereal that the kids want but that you agree with. Try and avoid chocolate but accept that there might be some sugar. A proper breakfast will decrease your child’s desire to snack. Get them into the habit from an early age. It will really make a big difference to their entire life.
  5. Get them involved – We all feel better when we have ownership of a situation. Take your children shopping with you. It can be a great place to have conversations about healthy eating and educate them to the right ways of eating. Then get them to help with the cooking. You will find their appetite grow for even the most mundane meal if they have been involved in it’s creation.

Happy Healthy Eating

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4 Ways To Develop Your Childs Creativity

Children have great imaginations, which nurtured in the right way can see them grow to be fantastically creative. Here are 4 top tips to help you develop your child’s creativity.

1. Get them to YogaBugs. Through adapted yoga poses children go on wild adventures. At YogaBugs the children are encouraged to imagine themselves as lions or pirates and are always the hero of the story. By attending YogaBugs classes children will develop their own creativity by being given a mental work out alongside the obvious physical one. Their imagination and creativity grows through play. And best off all… They love it!

2. Make a special creative space. A designated area for your child to be creative can be a great way to help them develop. This will help the child to concentrate and focus. Television can be great for relaxing but it can hamper creativity by becoming a distraction. The designated creative space should put the emphasis on the child to create their own entertainment.

3. Encourage your child to be different. Make it acceptable for your child to be out of step with norms of their peer group. Get them to listen to different genres of music, take them on days out and encourage their interests. This is what shall make your child an individual and really develop their creativity.

4. Boredom can be good. Do not be afraid of your child being bored. This period of downtime is when they get the opportunity to flex and work their creative muscle. If they are bored, the power to change that is in their own hands. Unstructured time challenges children to actively engage with themselves and the outside world. They will use their own creativity to overcome the boredom.

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Top Five Tips To Improve Your Childs Concentration

Yoga is just one way you can help your child to improve their concentration

Yoga is just one way you can help your child to improve their concentration

1. Get your child to YogaBugs. Unlike any other children’s acclivities YogaBugs is specially designed to not only give your child an enjoyable physical work out but also to improve their concentration. They will learn loads, have fun and develop their concentration skills. By using the yoga postures to tell stories, YogaBugs are able to engage children on a variety of levels and develop many skills.

2. Play ‘Beat The Clock’. Deadlines get things done. If a task has to be completed in a set time this will help your child focus. They way to make it fun is to turn into a game. As a general rule assume your child can concentrate without a break for one minute per year of age. So if your child is 5, set the clock to 5 minutes and ask them to complete the task before the alarm rings.

3. Avoid overwhelming your child. If your child is whisked from activity to activity they will never settle. Choose a couple of activities and allow for downtime in between. This will help them focus and will produce better results. Remember quality over quantity.

4. Eat the right foods. Eating healthy food will give your child the energy they need to focus for longer. Avoid foods that are high in sugar as these will lead your child to crash.

5. Remove all distractions. If you want your child to focus make sure all diversions are out of the way. If the television is off it ceases to become an option. There is no such thing as multi-tasking only multi-failing.

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Top 3 Healthy Family Meals

Finding family friendly healthy food is not always easy

Finding family friendly healthy food is not always easy

In today’s world finding time to spend together as a family can be difficult. Meal time is perhaps the most ideal time to all sit down together and spend some quality time. Yet this can be difficult and maybe even stressful. Often at least one member of the family may be on a diet and that has to be balanced with catering to the palate and tastes of the children. This can be a real challenge. Eating healthy is obviously really important but this can potentially make meal times very stressful.

YogaBugs want to help so we have scoured our recipe books and found 3 top recipes to help you make the most of your family meal times.

1. Meatless Manicotti

Ingredients -

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
1 (16-ounce) carton fat-free cottage cheese
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 (8-ounce) package manicotti (14 shells)
1 (26-ounce) jar fat-free tomato-basil pasta sauce
Cooking spray
1 cup water

How to prepare -

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine 1 1/2 cups mozzarella, cottage cheese, and the next 5 ingredients (through black pepper) in a medium bowl. Spoon about 3 tablespoons cheese mixture into each uncooked manicotti. Pour half of tomato-basil pasta sauce into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Arrange stuffed shells in a single layer over sauce, and top with the remaining sauce. Pour 1 cup water into dish. Sprinkle the remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella evenly over sauce. Cover tightly with foil. Bake at 375° for 1 hour or until shells are tender. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

2. Plum Chicken Salad

Ingredients -

bout 8 ounces fresh plums, pitted and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chopped almonds
Salt and black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
1/4 cup olive oil
2 celery stalks, thinly sliced
1/2 red onion, chopped
8 ounces roasted or grilled boneless, skinless chicken, chopped or shredded
(about 2 cups)
6 cups mixed greens (like mesclun), torn into bite-size pieces

How to prepare -

Toss the plums with the vinegar in a large salad bowl. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes and up to 2 hours.  Meanwhile, put the almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast, shaking the pan frequently, until they are aromatic and beginning to darken, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. . Sprinkle the plums with salt and pepper and add the oregano, oil, celery, onion and chicken; toss to combine. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. (The salad can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated for up to an hour.) To serve, divide the greens evenly among 4 plates and top each with some of the plum-chicken mixture, or add the greens to the salad bowl and toss everything together. Garnish with the toasted almonds.

3. Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients -

 

4 carrot(s), medium, peeled and finely diced 1/4 pepper, black ground
2 stalk(s) celery, finely diced 1/3 cup Chinese plum sauce
1 pepper(s), red, bell, large, seeded and finely diced 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, less sodium
1 water chestnuts, canned, (8 ounce), drained and finely diced 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
3 scallion(s) (green onions), (white and green parts), thinly sliced 1 tsp. chili paste, Oriental, such as sriracha (or to taste)
2 Tbsp. ginger, fresh, grated or finely minced 1/4 cup cashews, dry-roasted, unsalted, chopped
4 clove(s) garlic, minced 1/4 cup cilantro, fresh, minced, plus extra for garnish (optional)
1 lb. chicken, ground, (at least 90% lean) 1 head(s) lettuce, Boston, (may substitute iceberg lettuce or romaine hearts)

How To Prepare -

Liberally coat a large skillet with oil spray, and preheat it over medium-high heat. Add the carrots, celery, bell pepper, water chestnuts, scallions, ginger, and garlic. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften slightly, about 5 minutes, adding a tablespoon of water at a time as necessary to prevent scorching. Reapply oil spray if necessary, and add the ground chicken to the skillet. Cook until the chicken is no longer pink, breaking the meat into a fine crumble with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Season with the black pepper. Add the plum sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, and chili paste and stir to coat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until heated through. Remove the skillet from the heat, and stir in the cashews and cilantro. Allow the mixture to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Clean the lettuce and break off 12 individual leaves (trim away the stem end of the leaves if they are tough). Fill each lettuce cup with roughly ½ cup of the chicken mixture. Garnish with additional cilantro if desired.

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Top Ten Tips To Get Your Child Fit & Healthy

Number One Tip... Get your child to YogaBugs

Number One Tip… Get your child to YogaBugs

1. Get your child to YogaBugs. YogaBugs is great exercise for all children and fully inclusive for children of all abilities with different classes for various age groups. YogaBugs not only works the body but also develops concentration, self-esteem, literacy and numeracy. YogaBugs uses yoga as a medium to tell stories and inspire children.

2. Eat slowly and in moderation. In a day and age when nearly a quarter of children are obese or overweight, this is really important. Control portion sizes and you will be able to continue to offer a wide variety of food. Also make sure they eat slowly. This will allow their brain the time to realise they are actually full.

3. A minimum of eight hours sleep. Sleep shall help your child keep to the right weight. Sleep will rest their metabolism and prepare it for burning fat the following day.

4. Give them a choice. Turn the television off but then give your child a choice of activities. This leaves them feeling empowered and more inclined to join in the physical activity because they have actively chosen it.

5. Get dancing. Use your love of music to get your child active. Have lounge discos and they will be getting exercise whilst having loads of fun and bonding with you.

6. Involve their friends. Children are far more likely to be active if they are playing with their friends. Just make sure the games consoles are out of reach.

7. Ditch the car. Walking to and from school is not only great for the environment, it makes sure your child has done some physical activity before they have even truly begun their day. It won’t hurt you either.

8. Turn TV commercials into fitness breaks. Nobody really likes it when adverts ruin their favourite show. Invent funny names for simple exercises like squat thrusts, press-ups, and sit-ups, and then do them together till the show comes back on. This will really add up over the course of the day.

9. Get charitable. Exercise for exercise sake can be difficult to motivate yourself for never mind your little ones. Yet, it becomes far easier with a focus. Sign up for a charity fun walk. Children have great empathy and they will love being able to help those less fortunate.

10. Get them in the garden. Love it or hate it there is no doubt that gardening is good physical exercise for everyone. Get you kids involved and not only will they be doing something healthy they will also be learning new skills.

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Children learn through play

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As a parent it is not always easy to engage your children with something that is educational. They can get distracted, bored or simply become unreceptive. When a child no longer wishes to learn, they will however be willing to play. The shrewd approach here is to make sure they are learning by stealth.

First of all when children play they are learning to solve problems. how to interact with others and how to develop the fine and gross motor skills needed to grow and learn. Playing can help children do the following:

  • Develop physical skills. Gross motor skills are developed as a child learns to reach, grasp, crawl, climb and balance. Fine motor skills develop slightly later as children learn to handle small toys.
  • Develop cognitive concepts. Children learn to solve problems (What does this do? Does this puzzle piece fit here?) through play. Children also learn colors, numbers, size and shapes. They have the ability to enhance their memory skills as well as their attention span. Children move on to higher levels of thought as they play in a more stimulating environment.
  • Develop language skills. Language develops as a child plays and interacts with others. This begins with parents playing cooing games with their children and advances to practical levels such as telling make-believe stories and jokes.
  • Develop social skills. Learning to cooperate, negotiate, take turns and play by the rules are all important skills learned in early games. These skills grow as the child plays. As a result, children learn the roles and rules of society.

So what can you do as a parent to encourage learning through play. You are child’s first playmate and you have an important role to play. Interestingly children tend to be more creative when their parent is involved in play. To bring out this creativity simply observe, follow and be creative.

Group environments are really great to help children develop and learn through play. Naturally, structured play will have more benefits than free play. The right after school club or Saturday morning activity will provide this environment for structured play.

YogaBugs does this fantastically. Children are able to imagine themselves as lions or pirates, whilst enjoying physical exercise, developing self-esteem, social interaction and numeracy and literacy skills. This is real learning by stealth.

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My Child Has An Imaginary Friend

The truth about imaginary friends

Did you know that around 65% children from pre-school to age 7 have created an imaginary friend at one time or another. Most imaginary friends are moved on after about 6 months and the majority of children have lost them by the time they start school. Imaginary friends are perhaps unsurprisingly most common amongst eldest and only children.

Imaginary friends can take many forms. Generally speaking however imaginary friends are either objects such as dolls or teddy bears or an invisible imaginary person. A study at the University of Oregon found that where children have an imaginary friend that is personified as a doll or teddy they tend to have a parent like relationship whereas if the imaginary friend is invisible, the relationship is more egalitarian. The study also found that boys tended to only create male imaginary friends where as girls would create both male and female companions.

It can be common for parents to be concerned about the creation of an imaginary friend. After all adults don’t have them! And it is perhaps this lack of understanding from adults that means parental concern grows. Well as you have already read above, first of all it is very normal.

Unstructured time alone is a big factor in children creating imaginary friends. This is why it is most common for only children to engage in this sort of activity. The obvious solution is that the child needs to spend more time in the company of other children. Well there can be no doubt that children interacting with other children is a good thing as it allows them to develop their social interaction skills. But an imaginary friend is good practise for children. Research by Yale University found that children with imaginary friends have richer vocabularies and get along better with their classmates. Therefore it is also unsurprising that they are better able to show empathy as they find it easier to imagine what others are thinking.

Children can create imaginary friends for a variety of reasons. The most basic reason is simply they find it fun. Subconsciously children are also creating them to practice fledgling social skills.  At times a child may create an imaginary friend to provide reassurance at times of stress or change. If a child feels powerless, they may create someone simply to give them control and have someone to boss around.

The study from the University of Oregon discovered that 99% percent of children are aware that their friend is imaginary and not real. Touchingly only one child remained adamant that their friend was real.

An imaginary friend can become a valued part of any family. Parents should relax and enjoy it, and take the opportunity to ask questions about the friend as it will undoubtedly present them with unprecedented access to their child’s inner most thoughts and feelings. Parents just need to be careful that they do not allow the imaginary friend to take over family life, or their child misses real experience because they are too engaged with with their imaginary friend. Most of all parents must make sure that their child is developing relationships with real friends.

Most children will lose their imaginary friends as they start school. These sort of relationships are not socially acceptable and so the child will make the decision to move on  themselves. If a child however, is withdrawing to spend time with their imaginary friend at the expense of real life parents should consider consulting a professional to determine if the child has any underlying fears, concerns or anxieties.

YogaBugs actively encourages imagination. At a YogaBugs class children do not simply do yoga poses they imagine themselves as lions or pirates. Imagination is a truly wonderful thing and every effort should be made to encourage it. At YogaBugs even imaginary friends are welcome.

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Concentration develops over time

Inspiring children since 2006

YogaBugs develops children’s concentration

 

 

My child won’t do as they are told

 At YogaBugs we work with children aged 3-12 years old. However we not only work with the children but also the parents. Our regular contact with parents mean that our instructors often feedback and we notice some interesting trends.

One of the most common trends is that “my child struggles to concentrate.” Sometimes parents are so worried by this perceived problem that they are almost reluctant to let their child participate in a class. They are concerned their child is ‘not ready’ “Sean doesn’t always follow instructions’, or ‘Faye will often just do want she wants and that will ruin the class.’

The concern these parents have for how their child may have a negative impact on the class for others is commendable but at YogaBugs we have great news for them. All children struggle to concentrate. We are able to tell parents ‘Your concerns are totally normal and we have done the research to make sure our classes develop this part of the brain.’

Toddlers and young children’s brains work differently to those of fully grown adults. Amazingly adults can find this a very difficult concept to grasp. The truth is toddlers and young children are so interested and excited in their surroundings that their innate desire to explore the world around them means that sitting in one place for an extended period of time is of little interest to them. Young children are notoriously self-directed, quite simply they have not yet developed their brains to fully understand social norms. A young child is still developing their emotional intelligence and as such they lose the urge to stay involved once their interest has faded.

We love this about young children. At YogaBugs we work with children to help them retain this fascination with the world and we believe it is our job to be entertaining and inspire the child to engage throughout the whole session. Yes young children may struggle to sit and listen for extended periods of time, but YogaBugs engages their imagination and keeps them busy physically.

Developing the ability to concentrate

 Young children are constantly on the move and with boundless energy move quickly from one activity to the next. They have so much energy they are actually hit with an overwhelming urge to move onto something else. Again this is almost incomprehensible to adults.

As a child matures their attention span develops and matures over time.

Passive to active. – When your child was a baby they could only look at and interact with objects directly in their line of sight. As a toddler they then develop the ability to look around and choose objects. As they continue to grow they will begin to make choices. It is then up to the adult to help the child make the right decisions.

Unsystematic to systematic searching. –  A baby will just gaze at objects in a haphazard way and then put the other end in their mouth. As a baby becomes a toddler it will begin to investigate the object systematically and methodically. As they continue to grow, they will begin to make choices on what they search for, becoming more able to discern what is and what is not of interest to them.

Broad to selective. – A baby struggles with filtering out other sources of information. Toddlers however are able to concentrate more selectively. Eventually children are able to multi-task, after all even young children can play a DS and watch television at the same time.

What can parents do to help improve concentration?

 

  • Minimise distractions
  • Avoid games and television that foster short attention spans
  • Actively encourage children to look for things
  • Create a quiet area
  • Keep the house tidy
  • Develop with the child, as a child progresses so must the parent
  • Encourage use of eye contact

 

YogaBugs and Concentration

The ability to concentrate is a key life skill. It is also an important skill in becoming a good footballer. YogaBugs classes are specially designed to improve concentration for young children.