Video:Breathing Exercises to Help Children Relaxwith Christina Gavenda
Breathing exercises help children relax and relieve common anxieties. Watch this how-to video from About.com to learn some helpful breathing exercises that calm children and encourage relaxation.See Transcript
Transcript:Breathing Exercises to Help Children Relax
Hi, I’m Christina Gavenda with About.com, and today I’ll show you breathing exercises to help children relax.
Breathing Exercises Promote Relaxation
Breathing exercises are a simple and effective method of relaxation which have been used for centuries. Concentrating on the breath can be used to induce relaxation and focus in many activities from yoga and weight lifting to anger management and child birth. Breathing exercises are particularly helpful to children because they are naturally relaxing, increase oxygen supply to the brain, and they are simple and fun to do. With a special needs child, breathing exercises can help to ease tension, frustration and stress-induced confusion.
Practice Deep Breathing
One simple breathing exercise for children is the deep breath. They should count to five in the mind while they inhale, and count backwards from five while they exhale. They should repeat this breath 2 times. This exercise is helpful because the counting will focus their thoughts away from their surroundings, while the extra oxygen will help to relax the body and clear the mind.
Use Visual Tips for Relaxing
A breathing exercise which is helpful during excessive frustration or a temper tantrum, is to lay down on the back, and practice slow breathing while imagining a fun activity. While teaching the child this technique, ask them to close their eyes and to choose a particularly fun activity. This could be swimming, running, playing on the beach, or any other low-stress activity. Now tell the child to pretend in their mind that they are doing this activity right now. Have them imagine their surroundings in detail. Have them breathe in slowly through the nose, and breathe out slowly through the mouth. Now have them try to imagine the fun activity while they practice slow breathing at the same time. Practice this exercise for 3 to 5 minutes, then slowly sit up.
If the child can not leave their seat during an instance of stress, just focusing on the breath is often helpful to them. Teach the child to recognize when they start to get stressed. Whenever this happens, they should close their eyes, and listen to their breath. Tell them to close their eyes and breathe slowly through their nose. Have them notice that their breathing sounds like wind. Ask them if they can feel the cool air deep in their nose when they take a breath in.
How to Focus on Breathing for Relaxation
Another helpful breathing exercise during stress is slow breathing while counting. Have the child close their eyes and quietly count to four while they are inhaling. Then have them quietly count to four while they are breathing out. Speaking while breathing takes a bit of concentration, so this exercise can help to give the child a quick mental break from whatever they are getting upset about.
Another relaxing breathing exercise is for the child to feel their breath with their hand. Have the child lay down and place their hand on their tummy. Tell them to take a slow deep breath in, and to feel their belly pushing their hand up closer to the ceiling. Then have the child breath slowly out, and feel their hand getting closer and closer to their ribs. You can also have the child imagine that they are blowing up a pretty balloon with each deep breath.It is helpful to practice breathing exercises with the child daily, so that when stress arises, the breathing exercises are already well-ingrained into the child’s mind.
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