This deep breathing exercise is great for children as it is simple, they can visualize the imaginary objects, and the actions are a good distraction. Deep breathing is one of the best ways to help a little person to go from an ‘amygdala hijack’ to being able to think, problem solve, and learn. (Brain basics Here-part 1 and Here-part 2)
The best way to teach a child deep breathing is when they are already calm! This way they can use their prefrontal cortex to properly store the information and use it next time their amygdala causes a ‘false alarm’.
First tell your child to pretend to hold a beautiful flower (in their favourite colour) up to their nose. Invite them to breath in as if smelling that beautiful flower counting 1…2….3. Next tell them to make a cup/bowl shape with their hands and to blow out cooling down the hot chocolate or tea in their hands 1…2….3. Move right back to smelling the flower 1…2…3… followed by cooling the hot drink 1…2….3.. and repeat until they calm. SIMPLE & FUN!
You know your children best! The wonderful thing about this breathing technique is that you can chose an imaginary object that they resonate with and mimics breathing in and out. Make it personal!
Ex. 1 – Taking in a big slow breath..1…2…3… in order to blow a dandelion puff….1…2….3…
Ex. 2 – smell flowers & blowing bubbles
Ex. 3 – smelling birthday cake & blowing a candle out