Applicable To: Groups or Individuals
CAPPD Concepts: Calm, present
What It Is: Walk children through taking deep, slow breaths. If possible, have children lie on their backs. Tell them to focus on breathing in through the nose and out through the nose or mouth. Young children may have to do both through the mouth as it’s harder for them to coordinate nose breathing. The goal is to expand the abdomen, not the chest; to help focus on this, have children place their hands on their abdomens. To help them focus, ask them to close their eyes if they want to and visualize a balloon. They should imagine a color for their balloon and that they are trying to fill the balloon from their stomach. You can also place a stuffed animal on their belly and ask them to try and make the animal go up and down with their breathing.
Alternatively, if you have bubble soap and wands available, you can blow bubbles with children to help them focus on taking slow, deep breaths.
Why It Helps: Deep breathing leads to calmness as it calms all of the physiological processes associated with the fight or flight response in the body. Children’s brains need to be in a calm state to function and develop and learn normally. When children become upset, you can ask them to remember their breathing practice and take 5 slow, deep breaths.