Breathing strategies help children gain a sense of calm, presence, and grounding.
Paying attention to our breath is a simple grounding strategy that helps us press a “reset” button to pause and come back to the present moment. And it can be done anytime, anywhere.
Try one of these breathing techniques (perfect for wiggly kids!):
- Feel the Beats. Kids jump or jog in place for one minute, then sit, close their eyes, and use their hands to feel their heartbeats. Say, “Notice your chest going up and down, paying close attention to your breath. When your mind starts to wander, just bring it back to your breath and your heartbeat.”
- Spaghetti Breathing. Kids lie on their backs, arms at their sides, and imagine they’re stiff like uncooked spaghetti. Say, “Take a deep breath in, tensing your whole body tightly. Now exhale loudly and fully and imagine yourself turning into cooked spaghetti—soft and relaxed.” Repeat until they feel “cooked”!
Learning How to Count, Breathe, Relax
Small things can set kids off, but you can teach them a self-soothing breathing exercise to use on their own.
The smallest, simplest things—like coloring together—provide the best opportunities for quiet bonding, conversation, relaxation, collaboration, and praise.