The Positive Power of Breathwork: How to implement it with your kids
Place one hand on your belly and one over your heart. Relax your shoulders. Place both feet flat on the floor. Unclench your jaw. Inhale through your nose for a count of 5.....hold for a count of 5..... exhale through for mouth for a count of 5.....How did that feel for you?
Have you ever tried adding mindful breathing practices to your child's morning routine?
Mindful breathwork can support a positive tone to begin the day! Adding a short routine breathing practice into your morning, is a great way to bring a peaceful connection with your child. I am certain we have all felt those wonderful, peaceful mornings and those more difficult, overwhelming mornings; am I right?
If I told you that simple and quick breathing exercises could help set a positive tone for (most) days, would you give it try?
Modeling- Modeling behaviors to your kids is the best way to incite action. Use deep breathing techniques and explain to your children why deep breathing is helpful when you are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, or stressed.
Understand why, then teach them why! - I am a huge proponent of educating myself and then teaching what I have learned to empower my children with information. Here are some incredible benefits of deep breathing. Using the best language for your child's age and development, teach them why breathing is so powerful and healthy for us all...
- Calms the nervous system and releases feelings of stress and anxiety
Promotes happiness, peace, calm, and connection
- Activates the "thinking brain"
- Reduces tension, lowers blood pressure and heart rate
- Improves focus, concentration, self-management, and regulation skills
Start small - No pressure! Don't hold yourself to a certain expectation, just begin and see what happens. It's totally okay if your child does not choose to engage in breathwork every day. In fact, there might be days that you are "off" and it's not something that you want to do.
Make it fun – Breathing together with your child is a wonderful way to connect. Begin by introducing 1 or 2 breathing exercises, then teach additional ones. Have fun sharing these exercises with your kiddo - mom and/or dad practicing lion breaths (see below) can certainly lighten the mood! Once you have introduced different techniques, your child will find their favorites that work best. *check out these free printables. There are also many more ideas for you at the end of this post!
Create a Routine- By creating a routine around breathwork, we can instill the importance of this practice in our children. Identify times in the day that bring on frustration, stress, and other tough emotions - and try implementing deep breathing before those times. Here are a few examples:
Before making their bed
Before brushing their teeth
Before putting socks and shoes on
Before packing up their backpack
Connection – After your child (and you) have finished a few short minutes of deep breathing, it's a great time to check-in on how your child is feeling! They might feel ready to set off out the door with a positive, joyous feeling! Or, they may share some tough feelings they are experiencing. Either way, stay curious, validate what they are feeling, and show your love and support.
Give it a go! - Implementing a quick time for connection and deep breathing will surely improve your child's self-awareness, confidence, empathy, and self-regulation - all while creating a deeper connection with you before heading out in to the world for the day!
I hope you enjoy trying out calm breathing exercises with your child. Below I have a ton of ideas for you... it'll be a good idea to print them out and start introducing them to your child. They are all here for you to easily print from this link!
Lastly, here are two darling short videos from Sesame Street related to breathwork. A video with Cookie Monster and The Count Counting the candles and breathing - and a song by Common, Colbie Caillat, and Elmo.
PS. I HAVE AN AN EXCITING, FREE OPPORTUNITY FOR THE MOMMAS!
Registration is open (and FREE) for the Happy Mom Summit
The Happy Mom Summit is bringing together 21 incredible speakers to help you on your way to being a calmer, happier mom. Everything kicks off on Monday, February 28th with 6 days of action-packed presentations.
Buddy Breathing- Place a stuff animal on their belly (my personal favorite are these FeelLinks Dolls). Inhale slowly through their nose, and watch the stuffed animal rise with their belly full of air. Exhale slowly out their mouth, and watch the stuffed animal fall while they release air. Repeat...
Bubbles- Careful, gentle breathing blowing bubbles is a fun way to get kids to deep breathe!
Pinwheel- Have your child take big breaths in and exhale out through their mouth to get the pinwheel to spin. They can try different speeds to see what works best for calming.
Hoberman Sphere- Take deep breaths while expanding and shrinking this amazing, magical breathing ball. 3-5 minutes of breathing can shift our energy, mood and outlook.
Hot Cocoa Breathing- Pretend you have mug of hot cocoa. Inhale while smelling the hot cocoa. Exhale out of your mouth while blowing the hot cocoa to cool it down.
Dandelion (flower) Breathing- Imagine you are holding a dandelion and you want to make wishes! Smell the dandelion on your slow inhale. Blow off the petals on the exhale out through your mouth. Repeat...
Cake and Candles- Imagine you are sitting with a big cake and you are ready to blow our the candles and make a wish! Smell the cake on your slow inhale. Blow out candles on your exhale. Repeat...
Lion Breaths- Imagine you are a lion. Sit up or stand tall. Scrunch up your face nice and tight. Take a deep breath in. ROAR it out while sticking out your tongue. Repeat...
Bumble Bee Breaths- Imagine you are a bumble bee! Sit or stand, breathe in through your nose for a count of 4. As you breathe out, make a bee buzzing or humming sound. The vibration of this has a calming effect. Repeat...
Breath With Movement:
Rainbow Breathing- Begin standing. Start with your arms hanging down on either side of your body. Stretch your fingers and turn your palms outward. Begin slowly inhaling, start reaching your arms up in sky in the shape of a rainbow all the way over your head, if you are able. Begin slowly exhaling as your arms come back down to your sides. Repeat... Check out this video from GoNoodle.
Shoulder Roll Breathing- Relax your body. Inhale deeply through your nose for a count of 4 while rolling your shoulders up to your ears. Exhale out your mouth for the count of 4 while dropping your shoulders down as far away from your ears as possible. Repeat...
I have created 6 FeelLinks shape breathing exercises for you. Print those here.
Breathing with Counting:
- Learning to focus on your breathing and hold your breath longer. Inhale for a count of 4 second. Hold for a count of 7 seconds. Exhale for a count of 8 seconds. Repeat...
Count Your Breaths-
- Inhale for a count of 1, exhale for a count of 2, inhale for a count of 3, exhale for a count of 4, inhale for a count of 5, exhale for a count of 6 - only have the child go as far as they are comfortable. Then go back down in counting or begin again from 1.