Aaaand Breathe! Deep Breathing Activities for Children
Breathing activities for children is the focus today with school just around the corner, this can be an exciting time and one which brings much needed routine and structure to our days. However, this change can often bring about natural feelings of anxiety or worry for children, particularly for those who are attending a new or unfamiliar school or classroom. So how can we help support our children in maximising their potential during this time? Like many things, the answer is within us! Simple breathing activities for children can be one of the most effective but often overlooked activities that can assist our bodies in maintaining a regulated state or calming down when we feel a little overwhelmed.
Focusing on our breathing activities for children can act as a form of mindfulness which may support regulation throughout the day. Below are some simple breathing techniques that can work for anyone in the home. You may wish to incorporate these activities into your child’s daily routine.
5 Star Breath
- Stretch your hand out like a star
- Using the pointer finger of your free hand, gently begin tracing the outline of your fingers, starting at the thumb.
- As your trace up the finger, take a deep, slow and controlled breath in.
- As you trace down your finger, exhale slowly.
Doing this activity once on one hand will lead to 5 deep breaths, repeat as many times as necessary.
- Take a deep breath in for 4 seconds.
- Hold the breath for 4 seconds.
- Exhale for 4 seconds.
- Hold for 4 seconds.
- Repeat 4 times.
If four seconds is too much for your child, reduce it to 2 or 3 seconds and build up slowly. Supervise your child during this activity to ensure they do not hold their breath for too long. You may wish to draw a box on a sheet of paper and have your child trace it while completing the exercise for a visual effect.
Get your artistic juices flowing and support your child to create their very own mindful breathing wand. Using material such as a paper towel roll, feathers, string and ribbons, your child can create their own prop to support them in breathing mindfully.
- Take a large paper towel roll and cut off the top section (approx. 1 inch in width).
- Taking the remaining roll, cut a straight line from the top to the bottom. Use this cut to tighten the roll (making the space thinner). This will act as a sturdy handle for your wand.
- Secure the originally cut out ring to the top of the roll (using glue or sticky tape). This will be the space that your child can breathe through.
- Decorate the wand with ribbons, feathers, stickers etc.
Other simple breathing activities include blowing bubbles, blowing through straws to move pom poms, blowing up balloons (with supervision if required).
A good breathing technique can help your child with their speech difficulties.
For more information on strategies to support regulation, calm, speech improvement and alert state, feel free to discuss these with your occupational therapist or speech therapist for some practical tips.