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Mindful Breathing for Kids (and a freebie!)

Updated: Oct 27, 2019

At some point in time when your child (or you) were experiencing some BIG emotions, you may have uttered the words "Just breathe..." But, why is is that we say that? And do our kids know what we are talking about? And how exactly should we breathe that would be helpful?

The reason that we breathe is because our breath has a connection to our parasympathetic nervous system. (As a reminder, that's the part of our brain that brings on calm and upper level thinking.) When we bring our awareness to our breathing, and practice different breathing techniques, we can actually activate the relaxation response in our bodies. This helps us to navigate whatever stress we are experiencing in a more thoughtful way.

That's great to know but, have you every tried to tell a 6-year old in the middle of a tantrum to "just breathe" and lived to tell the tale? This reminder isn't helpful if we haven't put the time in to to teach our children how to breathe mindfully and make this tool a go-to in their toolbox.

Thankfully there are lots of fun tips and tricks for teaching breath work to even the youngest kids. Here are some of my absolute FAVORITE go-to breathing activities that I use with younger children at the Play to Grow Studio.