Teaching your child how to breathe correctly can be a daunting task. But if you make it into a fun experience, where you participate yourself, you will be able to teach them and get some quality time with your children at the same time.
Breathing Exercises for Kids
Dr. Darlene Buan-Basit, (B.A.Sc.Hon., D.C.Chiropractor) says there are many ways you can incorporate deep breathing and breathing techniques for kids – playing with the breath and learning control with different breathing exercises:
Sitting down - Using a feather in your hand (or leaf), take a deep breath in and blow out as hard as you can, blow away that feather as if you are blowing out 100 candles. That’s a “puff”. Now try a slow soft breath so the feather just hovers above your hand.
Lying on your back - Place one hand on your belly, one hand on your chest. Fill them both up like a balloon, letting your hands rise and fall. Now try just filling up your belly, this is a relaxation breath. Then try a see-saw breath, fill your belly up, then your chest.
In a child’s pose – Forehead is on the ground or on the hands. The focus is to breathe into the back. Your lungs in the back are like one big camel hump or ladybug wings, opening and closing with big breaths
Make Breathing Fun With Pursed Lip Breathing
Pursed lip breathing is a great little activity for promoting mindfulness in children. It’s helpful at getting kids to slow down and become more intentional with their breathing. Children also find it fun!
Start in a seated position with legs crossed or sitting on the knees. Have everyone take a slow inhale through the nose. The inhale should last about three seconds. Now, on the exhale, have the children purse their lips and blow the air out hard and fast.
The exhale should last twice as long as the inhale — it’s one big breath!
If the kids have trouble understanding how to purse their lips, tell them to imagine they’re blowing on hot food.
Find Mindfulness Activities in Blogs and Magazines
We’ve given you some great ideas for kids' activities right here, but keep in mind that you can also find ideas on mindfulness blogs, mindfulness magazines, and mindfulness games online. These are great resources for parents and teachers alike. An excellent way for you to find ideas on mindful parenting.
Remember that it's always good to have these diverse resources at your disposal. Even if you've got enough mindfulness games and fun experiences lined up for the time being, you never know when your kids will suddenly say they want some new and different things to do when you're bored at home.
That’s why we advise keeping a running list of mindfulness activity options. These are especially useful to crack out when there’s been a major event in the family or within a friend group. Strong emotions can be handled much better with mindfulness.
Finally, if you tend to spend a lot of time outdoors with your kids, playing in the garden, enjoying some forest bathing, or other activities (which is great!), find some indoor activities to keep up your sleeve. You never know when the weather might turn gray. Having some rainy day games and rainy day arts and crafts for kids is always a wise idea.
Breathing Techniques for Kids: Frequently Asked Questions
What are breathing techniques for kids?
One way to help your children experience mindfulness is to teach them different breathing techniques. Teach them how to breathe correctly and how they can be used in everyday life. As in the video shown above, teaching your child 4-7-8 breathing or square breathing can even help them in the swimming pool.
They will be able to hold their breath longer and will be very eager to show you how far they could swim underwater.
How can breathing techniques help children?
Teaching your child to breathe can help them become more mindful, teach them how to calm down, and reduce any anxiety they might experience. It can also be a playful way for them to hold their breath longer.
We all need to re-center ourselves or take a step back and just relax. The same goes for our children and by teaching them different breathing techniques we are providing them the tools to do so.
Which breathing technique is best suited for children?
As mentioned above, the easiest way to teach your child a breathing technique is to make it fun. Incorporate the exercise into something where they can see results fairly quickly such as swimming underwater. Pursed Lip breathing, 4-7-8 breathing, or box breathing, also known as square breathing along with bubble breathing, are all suitable techniques to teach children. The most important factor is to make the entire experience as fun as possible.
What is bubble breathing?
Bubble breathing is exactly what it sounds to be, blowing bubbles. This will allow you as a parent to teach your child how to focus on their breathing in a calm and relaxed way. Teaching them to blow big bubbles, they need to do it in a slow and calm manner, to not make the bubble burst.
This will help you teach them and make them understand what calming breathing is and the benefits that come from it.
If it helps, try the techniques together with your children and make it into a fun experience. If they enjoy it, it will be easier to teach them and for them to follow along.