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Pediatric Therapies  

Near Me

Pediatric Therapies  

Breathing Exercises for Kids

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Here are my top four breathing exercises that I highly recommend for children who struggle with emotional control. As an occupational therapist, I teach these exercises to help kids manage their feelings more effectively.

Parents often seek these techniques for two main reasons: their children are on the verge of being expelled from school, or they struggle to make friends. Both scenarios can be quite distressing, even for someone like me who doesn't have children.

These four breathing exercises are straightforward to teach and remarkably effective. I'll explain their benefits towards the end. Let's begin:

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    • Teach your child to trace their five fingers with their opposite hand. They should breathe in while tracing up, hold for three seconds, and exhale while tracing down. They can repeat this as needed.

    five finger breathing exercise for kids
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    • First, have your child draw a figure eight on the palm of their hand. Teach them to breathe in while tracing downward and exhale while tracing upward. Repeat as necessary.

    figure eight breathing exercise for kids
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    • This engaging exercise involves using pipe cleaners and beads to create a tiny box or even a bracelet. Each side of the box has five beads to remind children to breathe in and out five times each.

    box breathing
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    • Instruct your child to place one hand on their chest and the other on their belly. They should focus on feeling their belly expand and contract, not their chest.

    belly breathing exercise for kids

Why These Exercises Work

1. Multi-Sensory Engagement:

Each exercise requires children to use multiple senses simultaneously, which helps divert their attention from the upsetting thoughts or events and facilitates a return to emotional baseline.

2. Brain Balance:

These exercises help balance the brain's responses. Our brain functions like a seesaw, with the fight-or-flight response on one side and the rest response on the other. Breathing exercises help shift focus away from fight-or-flight, promoting emotional equilibrium.

Once children are back to a baseline state, that’s when real learning and growth can occur. Breathing exercises set the stage for discussing strategies to prevent future emotional disruptions.

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