Wind Down Before They Melt Down: Breathing Exercise for Kids
When your little one starts to lose their cool, you’re probably ready to try anything to help them stay calm. If you’ve never tried mindfulness practices with your kids, it can seem a little weird at first—but studies show it can really help.
For little ones, it’s best to keep things simple and fun—practice this “balloon” exercise (also known as “belly breathing”) when they’re calm and comfortable so you can help them use it later when they’re feeling big feelings.
Here's the basics for our balloon exercise. Make sure to demonstrate each of these steps. You can do this standing or sitting down.
- Relax your body and take slow breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth.
- Place your hands on your belly, forming a circle with your fingertips.
- As you breathe in, try to make your belly bigger, like a balloon filling up with air.
- As you breathe out, let your belly get smaller
- Repeat and relax.
For younger kids, it can be fun to add extra details to this exercise. What color balloon do they want to imagine today? You can also practice having them hold their breath for a moment after filling their belly so you can “pop” the balloon with a finger gesture before they exhale.
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