Teaching Deep Breathing: It can be difficult to teach deep breathing, especially to children. Here are some techniques that can help. I have done many of these with teens and adults as well. Click the links below for more info.
- Bubble Breaths (or Pinwheel): Have the child breathe in through their nose and then slowly blow the biggest bubble they can. Highlight how if they blow to hard and fast then the bubble with be small and burst right away. You could also have them do deep breathing with a pinwheel.
- Balloon Breaths: Direct the child to breath in through their nose and then try to blow up the balloon in as few breaths as possible. You can have them try it with a lot of little breaths and then discuss the difference in how it felt.
- Blow Up a Toy: This is similar to balloon breaths but with a blow up animal/doll. The child used deep breathing to blow it up and then can hug the toy while continuing their breathing to further self-regulate.
- Ocean Breaths (In yoga this is called Ujjayi): When transitioning a child from doing this with an object to on their own, have then focus on their breath and how it sounds like the ocean. They can then begin to visualize the beach to help them to further self regulate. This goes well with the jellyfish jar intervention that I posted.
- Cooling Cocoa: When transitioning a child from doing this with an object to on their own, have the child to pretend they are drinking hot cocoa. Tell them to smell the delicious cocoa and then blow on it to cool it down.
- Belly Breathing: Belly breathing is more advanced. First have the child place their hand on their belly and feel it go up and down. Then have them lay on the floor with a stuffed animal balanced on their belly and tell them to watch it move up and down slowly.