In a world where constant activity and screens can dominate even the littlest lives, the power of slowing down and cultivating breath awareness is often sidelined and forgotten. Yet, this fundamental process has the ability to greatly enhance your child’s overall well-being.
Yep, recent years have witnessed a surge of interest in the realm of kids’ deep breathing exercises – and for good reason.
Backed by a burgeoning body of research, these exercises are revealing themselves as dynamic tools with the potential to shape the physical, emotional, and even spiritual dimensions of a child’s life.
And this all makes sense given children’s remarkable impressionability. Their formative years are defining, so nurturing positive physical and emotional habits such as mindful breathing during this period sets a powerful trajectory, and can influence their lifelong well-being.
In this article, we’ll walk you through 6 fun, simple, and effective breathing exercises for kids, including:
- Teddy on the Tummy Breaths
- Rose and Candle Breathing
- Bubble Breaths
- Tasty Taco Breathing
- . . . and many more!
But first, let’s take a look at some important safety precautions to ensure the well-being of your little ones while engaging in the following breath works.
Safety Precautions of Deep Breathing Exercises for Kids
While deep breathing exercises for kids are widely considered safe, there are a few things to be aware of before walking them through the techniques below.
For example, it’s important to guide your little ones away from forceful or excessively deep breathing, as this can lead to dizziness or hyperventilation.
Starting with shorter durations is also very advisable. Then, as your child becomes more comfortable, you can gradually increase the number of breaths and repetitions.
It’s also important to note that breathing exercises involving breath retention are better suited for more advanced practitioners and aren’t recommended for young children.I’d also heavily recommend always being present when your child is doing breathing exercises, especially if they are under the age of 6. This safety measure will not only help ensure that they’re following instructions correctly, but also that they’re not encountering any potentially dangerous difficulties during the practice.
Lastly, if your child has any underlying health conditions, particularly associated with the lungs or blood pressure, it’s important to consult a trusted medical professional or experienced guide before proceeding with these exercises.
The Best Deep Breathing Exercises for Kids
Time to delve into the best deep breathing exercises for kids. Throughout each technique outlined below, try to maintain a supportive and patient presence.
As your child engages in these deep breathing exercises, prompt them to observe how their body, mind, and emotions respond. Encourage them to note any differences in their feelings, focus, and thoughts before and after each exercise.
Adding in this reflective practice will help them connect with the benefits of the techniques just that little bit deeper, cultivating an even greater sense of self-awareness and introspection.
#1: Teddy On The Tummy Breathing
This simple breathing technique encourages your child to practice with their favorite stuffed animal or toy, teaching them to take deep belly breaths that rise and fall with the belly, promoting relaxation.
- Find a quiet and comfortable space for your child to lie down on their back where they feel relaxed and at ease.
- Then, place a soft stuffed animal of their choice gently on their belly. Give them a few moments to connect to the toy – perhaps ask why it’s their favorite or what qualities the cuddly character has.
- Next, invite your child to take a slow and gentle breath in through their nose. As they inhale, guide them to feel the rise of their belly and notice the stuffed animal lifting.
- On the exhale, prompt them to breathe out softly through their mouth, observing the gentle descent of the stuffed animal on their belly.
- As they continue, count to three for each inhale and exhale, guiding them to create a soothing rhythm.
- During the practice, encourage your child to pay attention to how their belly and body feel as they breathe. Do they notice any sensations of relaxation and calmness?
#2: Flower & Candle Breathing
This sensory breathing technique encourages the little ones to inhale as if they are smelling the beautiful scent of a flower and then exhale like they are blowing out a pretend candle, fostering focus, creativity, and calmness.
- First, create a cozy and quiet atmosphere for your child to sit comfortably.
- Have them close their eyes and imagine that in one hand, they’re holding a beautiful flower, and a lit candle in the other. What do they look like? Can they imagine the texture?
- Keeping this image in mind, ask them to raise their flower hand to their nose, as if they’re about to smell in its fresh scent.
- Ask them to inhale slowly and deeply through their nose, imagining the delicate fragrance of the flower. Count to three during the inhale.
- Transition smoothly by having them raise their other hand and exhale through their mouth, as if they’re blowing out the candle. Count to three during the exhale.
- Encourage them to continually visualize the vivid colors and scents of the flower, as well as the flickering light of the candle.
- Repeat this sequence for three to five breath cycles, guiding them to tune into any shifts in their focus and how their thoughts become quieter.
#3: Shoulder Roll Breath
This great dynamic breathing technique employs deep breaths and gentle shoulder movements, helping children release tension and connect breath with body motion.
- Find a comfortable seated position, either on the floor or a chair, where your little one can sit with an upright posture.
- Guide them to take a slow breath in through their nose, letting their shoulders gently rise towards their ears as they breath. Count to four during the inhale.
- On the exhale, invite them to release the breath through their mouth as they roll their shoulders down and back, feeling a sense of relaxation. Count to four during the exhale.
- Continue counting to help them establish a comfortable and steady pace. Make sure that their movements are slow and controlled.
- As they continue, prompt your child to pay attention to any sensation of tension releasing from their shoulders and how their body feels more at ease. Did they find it easy to link the breath to movement?
#4: Bubble Breathing
This deep breathing exercise for kids playfully uses a bubble wand for inhaling and exhaling, engaging kids with their breath while enhancing mindfulness, joy and calm.
- Once they’re in a comfortable seated position, provide your child with a bottle of bubbles.
- Before opening the bubbles, encourage them to take a slow breath in through their nose, allowing their lungs to fill like a balloon expanding. Count to three during the inhale.
- As they exhale gently, guide them to do so through the bubble wand, encouraging them to watch the bubbles float away, carried by their breath. Count to three during the exhale.
- As they continue, prompt your child to focus on the feeling of their breath moving in and out, and how the bubbles add an extra touch of magic to the experience. How many colors can they see on the bubbles’ surface?
- Ask them what they liked and didn’t like about this activity – did they find it relaxing? Does their mind feel calmer?
#5: Whooping Whale Breath
This soothing breathing technique combines deep inhales and exhales with fun and engaging whale-like sounds, extending exhalation for relaxation and balance.
- Once your child is in a comfortable sitting position, start by getting them to imagine they’re a majestic, serene whale traveling through a calm, quiet ocean.
- Then, instruct them to take a deep breath in through their nose, allowing their lungs to fill deeply in every corner. Count to four during their inhale.
- Now, as they exhale, guide them to make a long, soothing (emphasize the soothing – we know what kids are like!) “whale” sound, releasing the air slowly and steadily through their mouth. Count to six during the exhale.
- Encourage them to repeat this sequence for four to six breaths, allowing them to embrace the tranquil rhythm of the whale-like exhalation.
- After the practice, ask your child to notice the peacefulness that accompanies a prolonged exhale, and ask them if and how their body feels more connected to their breath.
#6: Tasty Taco Breathing
This breathing technique is enough to make anyone’s mouth water, using visualization to inhale the aroma of a warm taco and exhale to cool it, promoting focus, imagination, and calm.
- Set up a comfortable and quiet space for your little one to sit and unwind.
- Have them visualize holding a warm and delicious taco (or any hot food they like – we just love the alliteration!) in their hands, feeling the warmth radiating from it.
- Instruct them to take a deep, mindful breath in through their nose, inhaling the mouthwatering aroma of the taco, counting to four during the inhale.
- As they exhale slowly and gently through their mouth, prompt them to imagine that they are slowly blowing on the warm taco to cool it down, counting to six during the exhale.
- Encourage your child to repeat this process for three to four cycles or until they feel like the taco is cold, guiding them to notice how the imagery enhances their sense of relaxation.
- Invite them to reflect on how their body feels now compared to before the practice. Do they feel more at ease and are their thoughts are becoming softer and quieter?
If you’ve enjoyed this article on deep breathing exercises for kids, check out some of our other kids yoga articles below – your little ones will thank you!