Just breathe – 3 calming techniques for you and your child
Our breath is our Guru, it doesn’t have to be some long-bearded old guy sat in a cave up a mountain in India. It’s inside us, we all have it.
Check-in with yourself in this very moment. How are you feeling right now? Take a minute to watch what your breath is doing. If you are relaxed you will find that your breath is slow and calm. If you’re having a difficult day you may find that your breath is short and shallow. Our breath centres how we feel and it influences how we respond to what is happening around us.
Teaching our kids conscious breathing can help them learn to regulate their emotions. It can be the difference that stops a full-scale meltdown in the middle of the supermarket, for both you and your child. Here are a few techniques that can be done anywhere, at any time:
1. Finger breathing –Ask your child to hold their right hand up and spread their fingers wide. Take the index finger of the left hand and put it on the side of the right hand thumb. As your child breathes in, run the left index finger up the edge of the right thumb. As your child breathes out, run the index finger down the inside edge of the thumb. With each breath continue up and down the fingers until they reach the bottom of the little finger. Five long full breaths will clear most emotions. If it doesn’t, you can always do the same on the other hand.
2. Candle breathing – Your child holds up their finger pretending it is a candle on their birthday cake. Ask your child to slowly blow the candle out. Do this 5 times or more.
3. Hand breathing – Ask your child to rub their hands together vigorously until they feel heat between them. As they breathe in and fill their bellies with air, ask your child to widen the space between their hands. The space between their hands may become as wide as their shoulders. As they breathe in, ask your child to bring their hands back together. Repeat this five times or until your child is calm again.
Conscious breathing is just one part of yoga. Children’s yoga is becoming more popular as parents, carers and teachers recognize the physical, emotional and mental benefits it brings.
Our children are growing up in a fast paced world that will challenge them in every way. It will be tough for them, but they are fortunate because we can share a most valuable gift, one that will give them the tools not just to survive but to thrive – the practice of yoga.
“Feelings come and go like clouds in a windy sky. Conscious breathing is my anchor” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh