It’s not just us adults who need to calm down when we’re overwhelmed. Kids are bundles of energy. They can’t help it.
They’re always rearing to go because of all the oxygen they’re breathing, twice as fast as us. Sometimes they just settle down. There’s so much to take in, so much to see!
Teaching kids to calm down with the correct breathing will arm them with valuable tools for life. Most of us don’t breathe correctly when we’re under stress. We take short, shallow breaths that keep us from fainting but don’t help us calm down.
One of the most important skills we can teach kids is to use deep and controlled breathing to relax. Today’s growing up can be stressful, and it’s always a good idea to introduce kids to mindfulness early on.
When we give them the simple tools of calming and focusing early in life, they’ll know what to do when they’re stressed or anxious as preteens, teens, or young adults.
You can use these exercises to help correct poor breathing patterns too. Kids that mouth-breathe, for instance, can be more prone to stress.
It is because mouth breathing doesn’t eliminate the lungs’ waste air as thoroughly as breathing through the nose. A good breathing habit you instill in childhood can benefit the kids right through adulthood!
But how do you get kids to sit and breathe? Here are some fun methods therapists often use to get kids to breathe and calm down. They perform excellent exercises for little kids with vivid imaginations.
Breathing Exercises for Kids:
1. Breathe like an Elephant
Breathe like an elephant when you’re feeling tired. It will give you a lot of energy if you need it. Stand with your feet wide apart. Clasp your hands together and let your arms dangle before you like an elephant’s trunk.
Breathe through your nose and raise your arms high above your head as you do. Then breathe out through your mouth as you swing your arms down. Bend over with your arms between your legs, like an elephant’s trunk.
2. A Charmed Snake
Take a deep breath and fill up your entire body. Then pretend you are a snake and hiss as you breathe out—hiss for as long as you can. Repeat for three to five cycles. You’ll slow down and become calmer each time you hiss.
3. Balloon Up
Place your palms on your belly. Now take a deep breath through your nose. Imagine you’re a balloon filling up with air and pushing your stomach out. Hold your breath. Then slowly breathe out of your mouth, and make the balloon in your belly deflate.
4. Blow Out the Candles
Breathe in deeply and stretch your arms up and out. Imagine it’s your birthday. There’s a birthday cake in front of you with as many candles as how old you are.
Blow out the candles on your cake strongly through the mouth. As you blow, bring your arms back to the front of your chest.
5. Bunny Rabbit Sniffs
Bunny rabbits have very tiny noses, so they look like they’re sniffing when they breathe. Take three big sniffs – one, two, three – then breathe out with a long, deep breath.
6. Rainbow Breathing
Stand with your arms by your sides, palms facing forward. As you breathe in, raise your arms above your head. Then while you breathe out, bring your arms down to your sides again, as if you just drew a rainbow.
7. Blowing Bubbles
Take a deep breath through your nose and then exhale as if you’re blowing bubbles into a wand. The longer you breathe, the more bubbles will fly up into the air from the wand.
8. Breathing Duck Buddy
Lie down and place your favorite animal buddy on your belly, like your rubber duck or a stuffed rabbit. Breathe in and watch your buddy rise. Breathe out and watch your buddy sink. Do this ten times until you are feeling calmer.
9. Colour Breathing
Every time you breathe in, imagine you’re breathing in a soothing color like blue or green. You can also think of light purple if it makes you feel calm. Let the color fill your body as you breathe in.
Imagine it flowing through your limbs. When you breathe out, imagine a bright color leaving your body, like red or orange. Imagine the color going with your breath and through the tips of your fingers and your toes.
10. Humming Bee
Breathe in deeply through your nose. Breathe out, making a humming sound as a bee makes. You can also buzz if you like, instead of humming.
11. Five Count Breathing
If you’re a leftie, hold up your right hand. If you’re a rightie, hold up your left hand. Now open your palm and stretch your fingers wide. With the pointer finger of the opposite hand, trace up your little finger as you breathe in. Trace down as you breathe out. Do this with your other fingers one after the other.
12. Blow on Hot Chocolate
You have hot chocolate in a mug before you, but it’s steaming. Bring the mug close to your face. Take a deep breath. Imagine you’re smelling yummy chocolate. Now blow out slowly to cool the hot chocolate. Repeat.
13. Whale Breath
Lie back on the floor with your feet on the floor and your knees up. Bring your arms out on either side of you and stretch. Breathe in. As you breathe out, drop your knees together to your right. As you breathe in again, bring your knees up. Repeat with the other side.
14. Breathe with Glued Lips
Press your lips together as if they glue together. Breathe in through the nose and count to 2. Keep your lips closed together and breathe out, counting to 4.
15. Dragon Breath
Now you’re going to be a dragon. Breathe deeply through your nose. Stick your tongue out as if you’re going to breathe out fire. Breathe out like you’re a fire-breathing dragon.
16. Hot Dog Breathing
Imagine you’re a big shaggy dog. You’ve just chased a ball on a hot day, and you’re panting! Pant through your mouth like a dog. Take short, sharp breaths through your mouth and let out short, quick breaths.
17. Mountain Outline Breathing
Now you’ll breathe as if you’re drawing a mountain. Imagine the outline of a tall mountain. Take a deep breath and imagine you are drawing one side up the mountain.
When you’re on top of the mountain, hold your breath. Breathe out when you go down the other side of the mountain.
18. Sunshine Breathing
Do this near a window or outside if you can. Stand with legs apart. When you breathe in, sweep your arms in a big circle, so your hands touch above your head. Breathe out and bring your arms slowly down again. Repeat.
19. Breathing Like a Live Mountain
Now imagine you’re a mountain. Breathe in, and as you breathe, raise your arms in the sky as if you’re rising like a tall mountain. When you breathe out through your mouth, slowly bring your arms down to your sides.
20. Blow Away Clouds
Pretend you’re as tall as the sky, and there’s a cloud in front of your face. Prepare to blow it away. Take a big, deep breath through your nose. Then blow the cloud away as far as you can.
21. Cooling Noodle Soup Breath
Mumma made noodle soup for dinner. But it’s hot. You need to blow the soup before you can slurp it up!
22. Four Beat Breathing
This time, breathe to the four beats of a metronome on a slow tempo. Breathe in on the first beat, breathe out on the second. Breathe in again on the third beat. Breathe out again on the fourth.
23. Deep Sigh
Take a deep sigh, and all your tension will go with it. Take a deep breath and make your muscles tense. Then let out a deep sigh while you breathe out.
24. Deep Diving
For this game, we’ll go diving deep into the sea. Take a deep breath into your snorkel and hold your breath for five seconds. Then slowly breathe out.
25. Dandelion Breath
Imagine you’re out in a field full of dandelions. Or if you’re in a city, imagine you’re in a park full of dandelions. Take a deep breath. Then slowly breathe out as if you are blowing on the seeds of a dandelion and blowing them away.
These are by no means the only breathing exercises available for kids to enjoy. We can get imaginative and create more fun and enjoyable activities, as long as they promote good breathing techniques.
Everyone can benefit from these breathing exercises for kids, especially now, when times are strange. Pregnant mothers especially need as much relaxation as they can get. Make sure to mark your breathing sessions in your pregnancy planner.
Let’s take out stress together! You can also turn to Cute Rascals for more fun kids’ activities and empowering kids’ clothing that sends a positive message for building self-esteem and empathy.
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