Teaching breathing to kids is so important and provides them with a life-long tool for working through big emotions, stress, and anxiety. Kids tend to feel overwhelmed with large emotions, and they might tense up or act out with tantrums. They often do not know how to release the extra energy running through their system.
Deep Breathing actually sends a signal to the parasympathetic nervous, giving the body the message to relax. When kids use deep breathing, they are calming themselves without always realizing it. Breathing techniques also allow for a meditative moment of mindfulness to check in with oneself.
Breathing Techniques for Kids
Let’s take a look at different types of breathing techniques that you can teach to children, and how to use them:
- Lion’s Breath- This is a great breathing technique for when you are feeling tense. Breathe in as deeply as you can, and when you breathe out, exhale all at once, sticking the tongue out, and making the breath sound like a lion’s roar. Release all tension and stress through this breath. Repeat as many times as needed. This is a very fun and engaging breath to use!
- Bumble Bee Breath- This is a great breath for stimulating the parasympathetic nervous system. Breathe in all the way, and as you breathe out, buzz like a bumble bee: “Bzzzzzzzzzzz!” This buzzing radiates into the roof of the mouth and makes the lips tickle. The vagus nerve in the throat will be stimulated here as well which helps to calm the body while signaling the parasympathetic nervous system. Let kids be loud here. This is also a great time to let out silly noises and extra energy.
- Five Finger Breath- Hold up the pointer finger of your dominant hand and make the five fingers of your other hand wide. Start at the outside of the thumb and trace up as you breathe in and down the finger as you breathe out. Do this for each of the five fingers. This is a great technique for kids that need a quick moment to relax or unwind during stressful situations. This helps with counting the breaths without actually having to count in the head. When kids are extra upset, ask them to try this out and revisit the issue once they have finished breathing with all five fingers.
- Balloon Breath- Breathe all the way into the belly, making it big like a balloon, and then ‘pop’ the balloon by poking the belly with your finger, blowing all the air out at once. Kids can make silly noises here as the balloon ‘releases air.’ You can demonstrate with a real balloon too, having the kids do the breath as they normally would while you blow up the balloon. After, release the balloon and let it fly through the air, letting the kids laugh at the silly image and sounds.
- Bubble Breath- This is another really fun technique. Have the kids pretend they have a bottle of bubbles and that they are dipping the wand into the bubbles. Breathe all the way in, and then breathe out into the bubble wand, pretending to blow bubbles. Then, let the kids pretend to ‘pop’ the bubbles. You can also bring real bubbles to the lesson to make it extra fun, and have the kids take turns blowing bubbles as you bring the wand around the room. If you prefer, you can also have them sit in their seats and pretend to use their invisible bubble wands, and you can actually blow the bubbles at the front of the room so that they float overhead. Kids can really pop the bubbles. Get ready for a lot of giggles and fun!
- Ocean Breath- This is both a warming and calming breath, and it is great for stress relief. Tell kids to constrict the back of their throat like they are going to fog a mirror. Breathe in all the way with the throat constricted, hold the breath for a moment, and then breathe out through the nose to ‘fog a mirror.’ This will make the breath sound like the waves of the ocean. Ask the kids if they hear the waves. Feel free to use a video or images of ocean waves here, or ask the kids to describe the waves of the ocean they are seeing.
Learn More About Kids Yoga
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