Playful Breathing Techniques for Children

All around the world we are facing some of the biggest challenges in our history; politically, socially and environmentally. The future seems more uncertain than ever before and the question for many families is "How on earth do I raise my child to live in this world? How can I prepare them for this uncertain future?"


There are lots of resources, techniques, tools and inspiration that I hope to offer you as I build this online community but I wanted to start simply, with something practical that can help all of us, wherever we are or whatever is happening: taking a deep breath.


With so many challenging circumstances both personally and globally, it can be easy to get caught in the past or future, in feeling worry or upset. It gets hard to find solutions, to remember what's important or to be our best selves. But all it takes is a few deep breaths to bring us back to the present moment, to calm our minds and relax our bodies and remember we can do this!


Deep breathing shuts off our "flight or fight" response, lowers blood pressure and heartbeat and increases oxygen in the blood. It helps us to regulate our emotional state and move us toward higher brain states where problem solving and a positive outlook are easier to access. A simple tool with powerful results.


In my classroom we had a class job called the "energy monitor." This was was a student who would ring a bell whenever they noticed that the energy in the room was getting restless or disharmonious. When the bell rung, we would stop whatever we were doing, get quiet and take three deep breaths together. Instantly the energy in the room would shift and we could go back to whatever we were doing feeling calmer and more connected. It was always a wonderful reminder to notice where our energy was and return to our center once again, feeling calmer and more in control. A simple yet powerful tool in these times of turbulence and one that we can easily share with children.


Breathing breaks with children can be lots of fun! If you'd like to learn some playful deep breathing techniques to try with children you can check out the "Breathe Deep for Peace" series on our YouTube channel. There are 10 short videos with fun breathing techniques as well as tips for cultivating the quality of peace in daily life.