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Teaching children how to breathe

By THE MINDFUL MUM IN Connect

With the research proving the incredible link between your breath and your emotional state, teaching children control over their breath seems essential. Although it may serve to slow the unstoppable regular meltdowns, more importantly, if perpetuated it will lay the foundation of emotional understanding and control which will assist them throughout their lives.

This is a sweet tool for learning to introduce breath work to young children:

It works best for children aged three and up, although feel free to simplify it for younger children. We call it “Breath Tennis” and it focusses on the all important out-breath extension. The in-breath is energising whilst the out-breath is calming and brings us to centre. When we learn breath work we are taught to lengthen the out breath to increase our stillness and focus.

As we breathe slowly we tell our primal brain that we are safe from danger, stress hormones are capped and our logical thinking brain can resume control. It’s a skill that we see them through many stressful moments in life from playground conflict, public speaking to interviews and even driving!
So let’s play Breath Tennis!

What do you need?

A body of water. A wide tub filled to the brim with water works well as the kids can get down to the water level, but you can also play this in the bath or a pool.

A floating toy. Little boats with sails work best but even ducks or bark will work.
Instruct the little sailors to pretend they are the wind, one at a time they can use their breath to steadily blow the ship across the sea to the land on the other side. Then it’s the other sailors turn to return the ship with a steady blow.

After the game, try to talk about how the breath blows the ship better if its long and even. How deep can they breathe in? How long can they extend their breath out?

If you see a melt-down on the way, a bit of impromptu Breath Tennis with their eyes closed while you help them imagine the boat sailing away can help cool things down before they get out of control. Give it a try and let us know how you go in the comments below!

THE MINDFUL MUM

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