The lost art of breathing
According to Beyond Blue, one in seven young Australians (aged 4-17) experiences some sort of mental health condition.
There’s so much going on in the minds and bodies of kids and teenagers, but there are some easy ways we can help. Breathing. That basic function that keeps us all alive can be harnessed to help manage stress and anxiety in both our kids and ourselves.
Keeping it simple
Breathing is a great place to start and is an easy and effective way to help kids relax. Teaching kids to take some time to breathe is great to help them if they are fidgety, running on adrenaline or finding it difficult to focus a busy mind.
Breathing exercises assist in increasing focus, quietening the mind, concentration, relaxation and boosts energy levels.
The ins and outs of breathing
It’s important to teach kids, big and small, how to take deeper in breaths and longer out breaths.
The out breath tells the nervous system to be calm and everything is okay. It quietens the mind, nourishes the nervous system and increases focus. It’s important to take some time, once or twice a day, to take 3-5 deep breaths.
Six simple and fun breathing exercises to help teach your child to breathe
Blowing bubbles focuses on the out breath. If you’re doing this with a small child (3-5), make sure you hold the bottle because they love to pour the liquid out.
Lie down and place their favourite toy on the belly button
Breathe in and fill up the belly to see the toy rise, breathe out to see the belly and toy drop. Count as you do it breathe in 1,2,3,4 then breathe out 1,2,3,4, the counting helps them slow the breathing down as well as keeps the mind occupied.
Get a ping pong ball or cotton wool ball and get your child to blow through a straw to move the ball to you, then you blow it back to them.
Expand the ball to a count of four as they breathe in and contract the ball as they breath out to a count of four. This is a great visual tool.
Blowing a feather from the palm of your hand
Place a feather on the palm of their hand and get them to blow it off their hand and try to keep it up in the air.
Taking in the good
Breathe in love (get them to think about things they love such as family, pets, friends or activities and breathe in that feeling). Then breathe out joy/happiness as they see themselves and other people happy.
Lead by example
The best way to teach kids to take a breath is to take one yourself. So, throughout the day if you feel yourself becoming stressed or overwhelmed, say out loud that you are going to take a few deep breaths to help yourself calm down.
Similarly, if you need to take a moment before you make a decision use that opportunity to take a few deep breaths.
Also, check out our Kids Calm and Collected product which helps quieten busy minds, naturally.
Good luck and happy breathing!