Updated: May 18, 2022
Many of the best habits and routines we have are the ones we’re taught as children. The practices we learn as kids are often the easiest to integrate into our daily lives, making them especially powerful for a better lifestyle.
Showing proper breathing techniques to children and teaching them the methods can be a big way to help reduce risks of anxiety and stress as your child grows into an adult. After all, kids have pretty exciting lives these days, with rates of anxiety and depression amongst children under the age of twelve rising to new highs every year.
Taking the time to teach your kids about the benefits of controlled breathing can be rewarding, as well as providing an opportunity to spend quality time in a way that can lead to potential long-term benefits.
So, in today’s blog, we’ll be going over the best breathing techniques we’d recommend for children to learn to help alleviate anxiety while teaching mindfulness at the same time.
One of the best techniques for relieving stress and anxiety for children is, of course, the 4-7-8 technique. The 4-7-8 is ideal as a teaching tool as it’s simple to teach with a few steps required.
As the whole technique is based around consciously counting to control your breathing, the 4-7-8 is great for kids as it can be modified into a game for easier learning.
The technique is as follows:
Breathe through your nose while counting to four, making sure to keep your tongue at the top of your mouth.
Hold that breathe for seven seconds.
Exhale through your mouth for a count of eight seconds.
Outside the Box
Square breathing, or box breathing, is a similarly fantastic technique that children can pick up quickly. Like the 4-7-8, square breathing is based on counting to help control your breathing.
However, while the 4-7-8 is primarily known for its relaxing effects, square breathing has an additional utility as a focusing tool. For this reason, square breathing is often taught in military institutions, where the technique is sometimes referred to as “tactical breathing.”
Square Breathing is as follows:
Breathe in for a count of 4
Hold the peak of your inhale for a count of 4
Exhale through your mouth for a count of 4
Hold the lungs at the bottom of the breath for a count of 4
Repeat steps 1-4 for at least 5 minutes
Let’s be honest for a second and admit that kids love fooling around with just about anything, especially if it’s their own features. Kids play with their hair, pick at scabs when they shouldn’t, fiddle with their ears, and, most commonly, they pick their noses.
So, finding a technique that lets them do that in a controlled way can be fun to teach and easy to learn, so introducing alternate nostril breathing shouldn’t be as difficult as it initially sounds.
While it’s more complex than other techniques, Alternate nostril breathing is a wonderful technique that benefits every age group. The technique is as follows:
Sit comfortably before relaxing and closing your eyes, and remember to unclench your jaw. Take a few deep breaths first and settle into your space before continuing. Take note of your inhale, ensuring you inhale fully and allow your body to pause naturally.
Place your left hand on your left knee, and lift your right hand toward your nose. Use your right thumb to close your right nostril gently.
Now exhale fully through the left nostril, allowing your body to empty the full content of your lungs.
Inhale through the left nostril, taking note to fully inhale and permit the ribs to move outward as you breathe inwards. Take a moment to pause as you close your left nostril at the height of the inhale, opening your right nostril simultaneously.
Exhale fully through the right nostril before taking a moment to pause naturally.
Now, inhale with your right nostril before repeating steps 2-5 for approximately 5 minutes.
For more information regarding how to manage your breathing for a more effective lifestyle, visit our other blogs here at The Exhale to get the latest tips and tricks. For free guided breathing exercises that you can take anywhere, try out the Breathwrk app here.
And remember: Breathe Better, Live Better.