Kids, just like anyone, can have trouble controlling their energy and transitioning from your activity to another. Practicing meditative breathing is a great way to practice relaxation and controlling one's energy when transitioning from a high energy activity to a quieter, more subdued one like reading or doing homework. Deep breathing exercises help kids cultivate a focused mindset and gives them a skill to control big emotions, something that kids need help with early on to make sure they can handle their feelings as an adult. Breathing exercises help kids and adults alike lower their stress levels and gain focus for their days, whatever might be ahead. Let's look at a few common breathing exercises for kids that will help them focus and relax.
Stopping to Smell the Roses
This is by far the easiest way to introduce your child to deep breathing. Stopping to smell the roses is your basic deep breath in through the nose, and long exhale through the mouth. Doing this exercise with your child is a good opportunity to teach them about proper breathing through diaphragm and focusing their breath as much as possible.
Kids will often need to practice these skills in a calm situation, when they are not emotionally charged or stressed. This way, it will become something they already associate with being calm and doing something both relaxing and fun. That's why this exercise, like many, will include a fun sound or motion your child can do along with it. The Buzzing Bees exercise is simple. Have your child sit comfortably, and inhale deeply through their nose. On their breath out, make a buzzing or humming noise that sounds like buzzing bees! You can make the sound louder by cupping your hand over your mouth.
This exercise is a great exercise in breath control and concentration. The bunny breath is just three quick breaths through the nose, and one long exhale through the mouth. This exercise could be easily paired with another exercise that focuses on longer, deeper breaths both in and out through the nose. The three breaths resemble a bunny sniffing some ground or some nearby food, making it a fun and cute imitation for your child to get into deep breathing. This is a great one for younger children still learning about controlling their energy.
This is a great exercise for kids who tend to get anxious or nervous. It's similar to the buzzing bee exercise. Your child takes a big breath through the nose, and on the exhale makes a steady hissing sound, like a snake! This helps control the breath from making short, fast breaths to deeper and longer ones. The sound gives your child a goal, and controls their breathing to help calm them down.
Dragon breath is a really fun exercise to do with your kids. Sit comfortably, cross legged if possible, and make sure you are all sitting up straight! This one is also great for posture. Take a deep breath in and on your breath out, open your mouth, stick out your tongue and make your best dragon breath sound! This one is a pretty active exercise, so it's great for transitioning from a calm, subdued activity to a more engaging one that requires a little energy. This will help heat up the body and get your child excited for playtime.
For this exercise, sit comfortably and start with your hands cupped around your mouth. Deeply inhale through the nose, and on your breath out make a balloon shape with your hands that aligns with the speed of your breath. This one shows how slowly we can make our exhales, and really calms us down. This would be perfect for winding down and focusing energy after a more rambunctious activity.
Blow Out the Candle
This is another fun exercise that adds a bit of imagination. Use your pointer finger to imitate a candle, and blow it out on your exhale! This can be a fun one to do at any time that you're trying to focus your child's attention to a new activity like brushing their teeth or getting ready for dinner.
Breathing exercises are a great way to teach your child about focus, concentration, and the importance of focusing their energy. These are also great activities for any kids that struggle with anxiety, or anger issues to help them calm down. When we're stressed, we take shorter, quicker breaths which initiate our bodies' danger signals. This makes us feel more anxious, and amplifies our negative feelings. Breathing helps kids start to control those feeling so make sure you are practicing breathing exercises with your child whenever possible!