Deep breathing, also known as belly breathing, abdominal breathing, or diaphragmatic breathing, may help promote respiratory health and reduce stress in children. It may also help strengthen the muscles involved in the respiration process (1). Seek medical advice to choose an appropriate breathing exercise if your child has any chronic illness.
In this MomJunction post, we bring you a few fun breathing techniques for kids.
Fun Breathing Exercises To Calm Kids
Fun activities requiring deep breaths can be the best way to engage your child, as they may not like to sit down and do deep breathing meditation or yoga. The following fun activities help your child take deep breaths:
1. Bubble blowing
Bubble blowing is an excellent way to make children take deep breaths. They should blow gently and slowly to create air bubbles from a soap solution. This activity can help reduce stress and improve their respiratory health.
You can prepare this solution at home using water, dish soap, glycerin, and corn syrup.
2. Moving a teddy on the belly
This is also called breathing buddies. You may ask your child to lie down and breathe in and out, keeping their favorite teddy on their belly. A medium-size teddy is ideal for this exercise.
3. Balloon inflation
Blowing balloons is a good lung exercise. It doesn’t require much exertion compared to other aerobic activities. Inflating balloons regularly may help improve the functional capacity of the lungs. It may also allow the movement of respiratory muscles as well as increase the oxygen intake.
Each child’s lung function may be different; ask them to blow balloons as much as they can without getting tired or gasping for breath.
Seek medical advice regarding lung exercises if your child has any respiratory illness.
4. Blow tricker (party blower)
You can ask your child to blow a party blower or horn after taking a deep breath. This has benefits similar to blowing balloons. It can help control the oral muscles, which play a role in speech and eating. This exercise is recommended for kids who have eating difficulties, drool excessively, or have a speech delay.
You may ask your kid to blow party horns a few times a day to improve their breathing.
5. Blowing crepe paper or ribbons
Blowing crepe paper or ribbons can help make your child take deep breaths. You may hang a few ribbons or crepe paper on a hanger. Ask your child to blow the paper or ribbons a few times after taking deep breaths.
6. Blowing pom poms
You can ask your kid to blow pom poms out of a tray or bowl. Specific fun activities can be planned for kids using pom poms and straw.
You could ask them to blow pom poms using a straw, pipe, or cardboard mailing tube. If your kid loves to do more challenging activities, you may draw or use color tapes to create some lines and ask them to blow pom poms on them.
7. Blow painting using straws
Blow painting is a fun activity for kids of all ages. It requires deep breathing, and kids will do it effortlessly.
You need to have papers, droppers, liquid paint, and straws to do this. Place a few drops of liquid paint on a paper and ask your child to blow it with a straw to create shapes. You may add water to liquid paints if required. It can also be done using drops of water or ink.
8. Blowing a balloon, pieces of tissue paper, or feathers in the air
You may ask your child to blow a balloon, feather, or a piece of paper in the air for a while. They have to take deep breath to do so. You may ask them to blow air using a straw to suspend the balloon in the air.
9. Color breathing
Color breathing, a form of meditation, is a good way to reduce stress. You may ask your child to imagine a color that they like. Ask them to feel the color entering their lungs while inhaling and leaving the body while exhaling.
10. Ocean breathing
Also known as ujjayi pranayama, this is a deep diaphragmatic breathing method. Ask your child to take a long deep breath and breathe out while focusing on the sound of their breath.
11. Bumblebee breathing
Also known as bhramari pranayama, humming breath, or bee breath, this is a deep inhalation and exhalation exercise involving sound. Ask your child to take a deep breath and release a hmmmmmm sound. This can also be done with mmmmm, shhhhhh, or zzzzz sounds as well.
12. Animal breathing
Animal breathing is a fun breathing activity for kids. Ask your kid to move like a rabbit and take deep breaths or hiss like a snake while breathing.
You may also ask them to do whale breathing, wherein they need to sit in a pretzel position and take deep breaths.
13. Using numbers
You may ask your child to breathe in and out on specific numbers while counting. The best way to practice this is by sitting with the hands placed on the knees and keeping the eyes closed. A calm place may help the child to focus.
You can ask your child to count to 10, where the odd numbers are for breathing in, and the even numbers are for breathing out.
Benefits of Deep Breathing Exercises for Children
Deep breathing exercises may benefit your child in many ways. They help (2):
- Decrease anxiety
- Lower stress
- Improve focus and attention
- Reduce blood pressure
- Improve heart function
- Promote respiratory health
Deep breathing could also promote social well-being and help children feel happy and relaxed.
Tips For Teaching Deep Breathing Exercises To Children
You may teach deep breathing techniques to your children when they are calm and ready to learn something new.
Spare some time every day to teach deep breathing techniques. Choose a quiet environment to help them concentrate better.
Educate them on the benefits of breathing exercises in a way that they can understand. Ask your child to repeat the activity on their own when they are calm. Always ensure that breathing exercises are performed under the supervision of an adult.
Regular breathing exercises may help to promote respiratory and mental health in children. These are fun-filled simple activities that involve deep breathing. If your child is willing to learn, you may teach them other meditation or yoga techniques.
2. Just Breathe: The Importance of Meditation Breaks for Kids; healthychildren; The American Academy of Pediatrics
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