Child blowing bubbles

It seems like a no-brainer, but breathing is an essential activity that we often take for granted. Breathing exercises are a powerful way to regulate and manage our emotions. For our young ones, teaching them simple breathing exercises can help them to take notice of their own feelings, relax, and calm down in the face of adversity.

“Take a deep breath…” – If you’re familiar with this phrase, you probably recognize that deep breathing can be extremely helpful in contexts of stress and anxiety. Under such circumstances, it is easy to lose control of oneself and allow strong emotions to cloud rational thoughts and actions.

As much as adults need to engage in deep breathing from time to time, it’s equally important for kids to learn mindful breathing. Parents should set aside time to teach their kids some useful breathing exercises that can help them manage their emotions and ensure a healthy mind. Read on for 4 simple breathing exercises that you can consider doing with your kids!

  1. Blowing Bubbles
  2. Balloon Fun
  3. Belly Breathing
  4. Bumble Bee Breathing

1. Blowing Bubbles

Getting your child to blow bubbles can be a fun way for them to engage in a breathing exercise. This activity involves the slow and controlled movement of inhalation and exhalation – since your child has to blow gently in order for them to create bubbles without causing them to burst. Furthermore, this is a simple bonding activity perfect for the whole family!

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2. Balloon Fun

Do balloons entice your child? If so, you can consider gathering some colourful ones and ask your child to have fun with them. The act of blowing balloons involves deep breathing through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Hence, this exercise creates the need for deep breaths and effortful exhalation, which allows for more air to enter the lungs.

However, it’s important for parents to supervise their children when performing this activity. If your child has shortness of breath or experiences dizzy spells, this exercise should not be carried out.

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3. Belly Breathing

This exercise focuses on abdominal breathing. Get your child to lie down in a comfortable position and place a light object – such as a soft toy – on their belly. To ensure that your child is doing proper belly breathing, the soft toy on the belly should rise as your child takes a deep breath through the nose, and sink when exhaling. If you’d like, play some relaxation music to enhance the calming effect that abdominal breathing brings.

Belly breathing increases the amount of oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and helps to relieve muscle tensions. In a comfortable resting position, it can also be so relaxing that your child may actually fall asleep!

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4. Bumble Bee Breathing

In a comfortable sitting position, ask your child to close their eyes and breathe in through their nose. When exhaling, get them to make a soft hum as they breathe out slowly. This is a great exercise for extending the length of exhaling as compared to inhaling. Similar to other breathing exercises, the benefits of this activity include calming the mind and reducing stress.

You may want to demonstrate this exercise once before asking your child to repeat it (at least 7 times).

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Breathing exercises are an important way to teach your child how to manage their emotions and express themselves appropriately. Deep breathing helps to reduce stress, manage anger, and support a healthy state of mind! Your child’s body will thank you for that in the future.

References

  1. Castel-Branco, Inês. “Breathing Exercises for Kids: Magination Press Family.” Mindfulness for Kids & Teens, Magination Press Family, 19 Apr. 2018, www.maginationpressfamily.org/mindfulness-kids-teens/breathing-exercises/.
  2. Christie Burnett, et al. “8 Fun Breathing Exercises for Kids at Home or School {Printable}.” Childhood101, 27 Apr. 2019, https://childhood101.com/fun-breathing-exercises-for-kids/.
  3. “Deep Breathing Exercises for Kids.” Coping Skills For Kids, https://copingskillsforkids.com/deep-breathing-exercises-for-kids.
  4. Pelini, Sanya. 3 Breathing Exercises To Calm Kids of All Ages. 20 Apr. 2020, www.parent.com/3-breathing-exercises-to-calm-kids-of-all-ages/.
  5. “Deep Breathing Exercises for Children.” Your Therapy Source, 6 Sept. 2018, www.yourtherapysource.com/blog1/2018/09/04/deep-breathing-exercises-for-children-2/.