Finding your breath is a key element to finding mindfulness and meditation. Teaching our children to breathe properly is so important in order for them to be in a place of calm – what is also known as their “rest and digest” mode.
When our children experience something stressful their bodies automatically go into “fight or flight” mode. From a science perspective this triggers their heart rate to increase, digestion to sop and breath to become shallower.
Finding our breath helps to get more oxygen into the bloodstream, opening up our capillaries – it has a physical effect on the body to help calm down and lower stress levels. So it’s so important to start teaching our kids how to properly find their breath now, so they are able to take this practice into their entire life.
To help your kids find their breath, we have put together some breathing exercise graphics that you can use to guide them through:
Ask your kids to:
- Sit up tall, relax your shoulders and face.
- Imagine a dandelion flower.
- Take a deep breath in and then blow the air out slowly, sending the seeds into the air.
- Repeat 3 times.
Use squares, triangles, and stars to guide your child to complete one full breath.
- Trace the edge of the square and count, 1, 2, 3, 4
- On the exhale trace the other side of the square, exhale for 1, 2, 3, 4
- Repeat on for the next half of the square.
- Trace the square 3 times using this technique
Use a small meditation cushion or stuffy to guide your child’s breathing. Encourage your child to rock the stuffy to sleep:
- Ask your little one to lie down and put their favorite stuffy on their tummy.
- Ask them to inhale deeply for a count of 3.
- Then, ask them to exhale for a count of 4.
- Prompt them to watch the fox/cloud/bear rise and fall as they breathe in and out.
- Do 5 to 10 rounds.
Finding a moment with your children to breathe lets them know that you are committed to your own practice of finding calm and creating a space that feels safe and peaceful.
Most kids will mimic your actions, so the more you practice breathing yourself, the more they will follow your lead. You will be surprised how quickly they not only pick up these breathing exercises, but also really start to enjoy them!