TimeOut NY: TONY Kids

Scheduled downtime

Back when we were kids, relaxing meant curling up on the couch with a good book and vegging out for a couple of hours. "Back when" wasn't that long ago (this writer was 11 in 1989), but the times have been a-changing drastically over the past decade: Now, overscheduled, overstressed kids are supposed to take yet another class in order to relax their overburdened selves.

At least, that's the idea behind SMART-4-Kidz, a program that combines physical activity, such as yoga positions and dance moves, with storytelling and music, in order to help kids deal with daily stressors and the rest of their apparently miserable lives. SMART, an acronym for Stress Management And Relaxation Technique's for Children and Adolescents, was developed by child psychologist (and advertising man) Michael Portney, who has research results to back up SMART's claims that kids benefit from relaxation techniques with increased focus and reduced anxiety; he also found that the benefits are greatest when kids attend a twice-weekly SMART class.

Kids can check out the SMART program for free this week at a studio on the Upper West Side or in Carroll Gardens. Fall sessions are currently meeting in UWS, Park Slope and Carroll Gardens locations. Of course, that means that kids in the bronx and Queens, who lack convenient access to these programs, are in danger of totally bugging out. Or not.

Call 212-595-KIDZ or 718-369-7278 to reserve a spot, or visit www.smart4kidz.org.

Artscetera, 212 Smith St between Baltic and Butler Sts, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Subway: Wed 6 at 3:30, 4:30pm.
Namaste, 371 Amsterdam Ave at 77th St. Subway: C to 72nd St; 1, 9 to 79th St. Thu 7 at 4, 5pm.

Posted September 29, 2004
©2004 All rights Reserved. Time Out New York.