We’ve been practicing some “3 Minute Mindfulness” strategies here in the counseling office. One of these techniques, belly breathing, helps us slow down, bring our awareness to or own bodies and get ready to learn!
How to practice this with your child at home:
- Start by having your child breathe normally. Ask them if they notice anything about it. What parts of their body move as they breathe? What does it feel like?
- Now have them place their hands on their bellies.
- With their mouths closed, have them breathe in for four seconds or until they feel their whole chest fill with air all the way down to their belly.
- Have them hold in the air for four seconds.
- Then have them slowly blow all the air out until it’s all gone.
- Repeat until the body feels relaxed.
- Children as young as three can practice belly breathing.
- If your child is having difficulty breathing slowly, have him or her exhale through a straw. You can tell them to pretend they’re snorkeling.
- It’s important to have children first practice when they are in a relaxed state. Once they have the feel of belly breathing mastered (have them practice it daily), then they can apply it to when they’re feeling stressed. It’s hard to have a kid calm down if they don’t know what calm feels like, or, they don’t have a well-rehearsed strategy already in place.
- It’s great to practice belly breathing at bedtime. It can help children who have trouble falling asleep. And it’s something they can control on their own.
- Go ahead and practice with your children. After all, parenting is stressful. You deserve some relaxation vibes too.
Visit pbs.org/parents for more information.