5 Kid friendly breathing exercises – To bring calm and focus to your child’s busy life
Our family has a mission. We were determined to help our kids learn self-regulation skills so they can feel fulfilled in their lives. After years of struggling to understand how to help each other manage our emotions, we are now focusing on the most simple practice: our breathing. To help children create a calm, focused mind and body, we are practicing various breathing techniques for kids.
These five breathing exercises can be used with children in their home, school, or studio. These breathing techniques can be used as a springboard for your child’s creativity.
#1: Flower Breath
You can either stand straight up or choose a more comfortable sitting position like sitting on your feet, crossing your legs, or in a chair. If you find it comfortable, close your eyes. Now listen to the sound of your breathing. Imagine that you are holding a bouquet of flowers. Now imagine the color and aroma of that flower. Take a deep, exhale, and pretend you are smelling the flower. Inhale, then pretend to blow the petals. For a few minutes, you can repeat the inhale-exhale cycle. It is possible to pretend that each inhale brings you a different scent. Another way to imagine yourself is sitting in a field of fresh flowers. It is a great way to teach children about their breath. It is also possible to pretend that you smell hot chocolate, then exhale to cool it off. Inhale the autumn air, then exhale it.
#2: Loving Kindness Breath
Stand or choose a comfortable upright position like sitting on your feet, cross-legged, in a chair or standing. If you feel comfortable, close your eyes to listen to the sound of your breath. You can take five deep, slow inhales and then exhale slowly for five counts. When you exhale, imagine filling your body with love. As if the color red were wrapping your body. Think of someone you love. As you exhale send loving kindness and support to anyone in your current relationship. Next, send kindness and love out to everyone around you, animals, trees and neighbors. Finally, show love and kindness to everyone. You can end your loving kindness breath with a natural breath. Once you’re ready, close your eyes. This breath is perfect for big day celebrations, or any time you need to slow down and show your love to others.
#3: Woodchopper Breath
Standing tall in Mountain Pose, take a few deep breathings and then stand up straight. Place your feet about a meter apart from your hips. Now, clasp your hands together in front your body. As you take a deep inhale, raise your hands high above your head. Take a deep inhale and place your hands on your knees. You can now hang your head and let go of any tension. If you feel comfortable, close your eyes. Next, take a long inhale and place your hands overhead. Then, exhale vigorously while placing your hands between your legs. Imagine yourself as a woodchopper preparing a log to make a campfire. You can repeat this breathing technique several times until the children get used to it. This will allow them to develop their own rhythms and be more aware of how they breathe. You can stand tall again in Mountain Pose to allow your body to return naturally to breathing. Allow the children to experience the benefits of this energizing technique. Instead of pretending to be a woodchopper you could pretend that you are an elephant drinking water from the lake. Next, hold your trunk in your hands and swing your trunk above your head to spray water onto your back. This is a great exercise to release stress and increase energy.
#4: Bee Breath
For bee breath, sit comfortably with your spine straightened and your shoulders back. Keep your eyes closed and look down. You can calm your mind and body by taking a few deep, slow breaths. Be present in the now. Breathe in and breathe out through your nose while keeping your mouth open.
When you exhale, close your mouth and make a long “mmm,” pretending that you are buzzing in the garden. Keep your mouth closed while you inhale. Then, inhale through your nose and make a bee-humming sound with the next exhale. Keep going in this manner for a few more minutes. Then, take a long inhale followed by a slow exhale. Open your eyes when you feel ready and then breathe naturally. Notice if you experience any changes after practicing bee-breath. To make the “mmm”, sound more intense, you could place your hands over your ears.
#5: Deep Belly Breath
This technique is also known by the name “yogic breath.” Alternately, you can lie down on your stomach in a relaxed position. Place your right hand on the belly, your left hand on the chest. You can take four deep, steady breaths in and then exhale with your mouth closed for four more. Your belly and chest will rise and fall. You can place a stuffed pet or other object on your belly to feel the rise/fall of your belly.
This deep belly breathing can be done for several minutes. Allow your child to practice this breathing style for a few times. To help children understand the inhaling/exhaling actions, you can use a Hobermansphere. Children can think of many things they are thankful for every inhale or exhale.