Deep Breaths for Kids (And You, Too!)
These are high stress times. We could all use as many tools to help us calm down, find patience, and relax our minds and bodies. One of the most cliché lines of advice for calming down is to “take a deep breath” and as frustrating as it may be to hear in the moment, it is so very true. Deep belly breaths help to hack our system – they regulate us and help us exit out of fight or flight mode.
For any Daniel Tiger fans out there, you will know this song:
”When you feel so mad that you want to roar, take a deep breath and count to four... 1..2...3..4..”
This is a perfect start for introducing the calming effects of deep breaths to kids.
Here are some other “fun” breathing techniques for times of stress (or any time!) that just may work for you as well..
1) Lions breath
This is my favorite breath to do with friends during yoga class and they really love it too! On the in breath, you make everything really tight: your hands, face, close your eyes, squeeze squeeze squeeze and then on the out breath you open up you eyes, your hands open wide, you stick out your tongue and exhale AAHHHHHHH! Try to do it without laughing, and get those deep breath benefits, too!
2) Balloon breath
Imagine you are a balloon as you breathe in the air. You get really, really big. Arms up as you look up to the sky. Then, on the out breath, you deflate like a balloon, blow out the air, and get really small. Arms wrap around you, arch your back, look down. Repeat.
3) Candle breath
All friends know intimately what it is like to blow out a birthday a candle, and they get to mimic the action while taking a few deep breaths here. Hold out a finger in front of your lips like it is a birthday candle. Breathe in, count to 4, and blow out the candle.
4) Box breath
For our friends who can count, this is a great way to add an element of thought and mindfulness to the breath. Breathe in for four seconds as your finger draws the imaginary side of a box upwards, hold breath for four seconds as your finger draws the top of the box, exhale for four seconds as your finger draws the second side down, then pause for four seconds as your finger draws the bottom of the box. Repeat as needed.
5) Other ideas
Blowing dandelions or spinwheels are also fantastic, especially if you slow down and are mindful of your breath. You can also put a small toy on the belly of your child as they lay down on their backs and they can feel and see the toy rise and fall with their breath.
Hope you are finding some calm today!