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Breathing Exercises For Kids

Last Updated: January 17, 2024

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Transform everyday moments into treasures with fun and simple breathing exercises for kids. These activities are not just about teaching valuable skills – they're about laughing, bonding, and creating joyful memories with your children.

What are Breathing Exercises for Kids

Breathing exercises for kids are structured breathing activities geared toward children, which can improve relaxation, emotional control, and focus. 

To tailor breathing exercises for children, one can combine controlled breathing with playful techniques such as imagery, poses, and visualization.

Breathing exercises provide children with a simple tool for managing their feelings, coping with stress and building resilience. These exercises teach children to regulate emotions, reduce anxiety, and concentrate better. 

Dr. Darlene Buan-Basit (B.A.Sc.Hon., D.C. Chiropractor) says you can practice deep breathing and breathing techniques with kids in many ways.

Benefits of Breathing Exercises for Kids

Breathing exercises have many benefits for kids, including reducing stress, teaching emotional control, improving focus, and improving sleep.

Stress Reduction

Breathing exercises for children can be very practical for managing stress by calming their nervous systems

These techniques teach kids how to manage anxiety, alleviate tension, and regain focus.

By teaching mindful breathing techniques, children are given a tool to cope with stressors, promoting emotional well-being and improved resilience.

Emotional Control

Breathing exercises for kids enhance emotional control by providing a simple yet effective way to manage their feelings. 

These techniques help children develop self-awareness, regulate strong and overwhelming emotions like anger or frustration, and foster a sense of inner calm.

Children can use breathing techniques to pause, work through big emotions, and calm their minds and body, which helps them self-regulate.  

Focus

Breathing techniques can help children learn how to redirect scattered thoughts. Children learn to center their attention on the present moment by practicing deep, intentional breathing, performed in a quiet space. 

This enhanced focus can help with academic performance and boost their capacity to engage in tasks, activities, and learning experiences with heightened concentration. 

Ultimately, breathing exercises can foster improved cognitive skills and academic achievement.

Sleep

Breathing exercises for kids can be a valuable tool to improve sleep quality

Establishing a bedtime routine that includes gentle, mindful breathing can calm a child's nervous system and ease them into a state of relaxation. 

These breathing exercises can help children let go of the day's stresses and worries, making it easier to transition into a peaceful sleep. 

Deep, rhythmic breathing can slow heart rate, reduce anxiety, and quiet the mind, creating ideal conditions for falling asleep and staying asleep throughout the night.

Mindfulness

Building mindfulness in kids through breathing exercises fosters emotional intelligence. By teaching children how to focus on mindful breathing exercises, they develop self-awareness, better understand their emotions, and learn to respond thoughtfully rather than impulsively. It is also a proven fact that breathing calms children meaning a simple breathing exercise is what could be standing between you and a calm child. 

Physical Benefits

Deep breathing for kids can offer many physical benefits, including enhancing lung capacity and oxygenating their bodies.

These breathing practices improve respiratory health by promoting better breathing techniques that enhance oxygen intake and carbon dioxide removal.

Deep breathing exercises can also calm the nervous system, lower heart rate, and reduce muscle tension, promoting relaxation.

Academics

Breathing exercises for kids enhance concentration, reduce stress, and promote calmness and, therefore, can be very helpful for improving academic performance.

Deep Breathing techniques can help enable better focus during homework and help manage test anxiety, empowering students to approach academic challenges with confidence.

Easiest Breathing Exercises for Kids

These breathing exercises provide creative and engaging ways to perform classic breathing techniques such as belly breathing and pursed lip breathing.

Feather Exercise

Feather breathing teaches children about breath control. It teaches children the differences between forceful breaths and controlled gentle breaths.

This activity can also work on taking deep belly breaths and exhaling slowly, which are essential to many breathing exercises.

  • Start with the child sitting comfortably
  • Instruct the child to put a feather in their hand (or leaf), take a deep breath, and blow out as hard as possible
  • Describe this type of breath as a “puff.”
  • Next, have the child practice taking slow, soft breaths so the feather gently hovers.

Child’s Pose Breathing

Child’s pose breathing is a breathing technique that combines the yoga pose child pose with deep breaths.

It uses the imagery of breathing into their back to help facilitate controlled breathing. To perform this breathing exercise:

  • Have the child enter Childs Pose
  • Their forehead should be on the ground or their hands 
  • Instruct them to imagine breathing into their back
  • One can use imagery of their lungs in the back like a camel hump or ladybug wings, opening and closing with big breaths.

Pursed Lip Breathing

Pursed lip breathing is beneficial for getting kids to slow down and become more intentional with their breathing. 

  • Start in a seated position with legs crossed or sitting on the knees.
  • Have them take a slow inhale through the nose. The inhale should last about three seconds 
  • On the exhale, have the children exhale through pursed lips, similar to blowing out birthday candles. 

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.

Bubble Breathing

Bubble breathing is what it sounds to be: blowing bubbles. 

This technique will allow you to teach your child how to focus on controlled and calm breaths.

To blow big bubbles, children will need to breathe out slowly and calmly so as not to make the bubble burst. This practice will help you teach them calm breathing and how to control their breath. 

Bunny Breath

The bunny breath exercise is a fun, imaginative exercise to teach kids how to control their breathing. 

With this exercise, children typically take short, quick inhales in their noses and then slowly exhale through their mouths. 

This combination of short inhalations and slower exhalations helps children engage in mindful and controlled breathing while making it fun and playful.

Snake Breath

The snake breath exercise is a fun and engaging exercise often taught to young children as an introduction to deep breathing.

To perform this exercise, children take a slow, deep breath through their nose, filling their lungs, and then exhale slowly through their mouth while hissing like a snake.

It encourages children to practice deep, controlled breathing while sparking their imagination.

Deep Belly Breathing

One can use imagery to help kids practicing belly breathing. This is a great breathing exercise to teach proper breathing techniques and achieve mental and physical calming effects. Use these steps and imagery to teach this technique:

  • Instruct the child to lie on their back 
  • Have them place one hand on their belly and one on their chest 
  • Have the inhale deeply and fill both the belly and chest up like a balloon, letting the hands on the belly rise. 
  • Then, exhale slowly
  • Now, have them try to inhale deeply again but just fill up their belly. This is a relaxation breath or deep belly breath.

Dragon Fire Breaths

Dragon Fire Breath is an invigorating breathing exercise that energizes and excites children.

In this exercise, kids take deep breaths in through their nose and then exhale forcefully through their mouth with a roaring sound, mimicking a dragon's fiery breath.

This practice not only teaches breath control but also helps in releasing excess energy and stimulates a sense of playfulness and strength. Repeat this process until your child feels calm. 

Bumblebee Breath

This is a calming exercise for kids, regardless of child’s age, ideal for reducing stress and anxiety. Children take a deep breath in and then create a long exhale with a buzzing sound, like a bumblebee.

This breath work can be practiced sitting comfortably, often with a favorite stuffed animal, to enhance the sense of relaxation.

The humming and hissing sound of this exercise, similar to blowing bubbles, help focus the child's attention on their breath, making it a playful yet effective technique for all ages.

Bumblebee Breath is especially good for teaching kids how to manage breath control and can be a soothing bedtime routine.

Where to Find Breathing Exercises for Kids

Many resources are available to learn about breathing and mindfulness activities for children.

There are many books for children that incorporate mindfulness and breathing exercises. Free online video platforms such as YouTube have great resources for learning breathing exercises.

Some studios offer yoga and mindfulness classes geared specifically for children. 

If one has specific concerns regarding their children, children therapists and counselors can provide specific and tailored information regarding mindfulness and breathing techniques.

Breathing Techniques For Kids: Frequently Asked Questions

How can Breathing Techniques Help Children?

Teaching your child to breathe deeply can help them become more mindful, teach them how to calm down, and reduce any anxiety they might experience.

At times, we all require a moment of re-centering, which also applies to our children. 

By teaching various breathing techniques, we equip them with the essential tools for these moments of relaxation and self-composure.

How Long Should a Child Practice Breathing Exercise Each Day?

How long and often children should practice breathing exercises can significantly fluctuate based on age and attention span. 

For younger children, start with a few minutes and gradually increase as they become more comfortable.

Regular but shorter sessions are often more effective than occasional long ones.

At What Age Can Children Start Practicing Breathing Exercises?

Children as young as toddlers can begin to learn simple breathwork. The complexity of exercises can increase as children grow and develop better comprehension and motor skills.

References

Breathing Exercises for Kids - The OT Toolbox.

How Four Deep Breaths Can Help Kids Calm Down

Diaphragmatic Breathing with Young Children: A Feasibility Study | Request PDF

Bunny Breathing and Other Exercises to Empower, Calm, and Self Regulate - Your Therapy Source

To Baby and Beyond - Baby and toddler yoga breathing techniques: snake breath

Breathing Exercises for Kids - Dr. Mayank Shukla

Relaxation techniques: Breath control helps quell errant stress response - Harvard Health

Disclaimer

The contents of this article are provided for informational purposes only and are not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is always recommended to consult with a qualified healthcare provider before making any health-related changes or if you have any questions or concerns about your health. Anahana is not liable for any errors, omissions, or consequences that may occur from using the information provided.

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