Mindful Breathing For Kids

Mindful breathing for kids is when children take the time to pay close attention to their breathing during that moment of time.  

What is mindful breathing for kids?

First, let’s start with what is mindfulness?  In simple terms, mindfulness can help children to increase happiness, decrease anxiety and live in the moment.  Mindful breathing for kids is when children take the time to pay close attention to their breathing during that moment of time.

Conscious breathing is simple to learn.

Start integrating 4 different mindful breathing for kids activities below into your day – at circle time, mealtime, transition time, drive time. Support children in regularly practicing by pausing periodically and taking the time to breathe consciously.

Encourage them to notice and name how the different breathing exercises affect how they feel and think and behave.

Remind kids to use conscious, mindful breathing to help them manage their feelings and shift their own mind-body state, the same way you would other healthy habits such as tooth brushing, saying “please” and “thank you,” lining up for recess, cleaning up after themselves, etc.

As adults, we can learn mindful breathing and model connecting with the power of conscious breathing in order to encourage your students and children to explore it for themselves.  This gives children a way to cultivate their own inner wisdom and strength.

Four Types of Mindful Breathing for Kids

Flower Breath

Imagine smelling a beautiful flower, breathe in through the nose and out the mouth, releasing any tension. Stop and smell the roses, daffodils, daisies or any other flower they like. This is a simple way to connect kids to their breath and how it helps them to feel.  You can download a free printable to provide a visual for this activity here.

Hissing Breath

Breathe in the nose, long deep inhale, and out the mouth on a hissing sound, slow and long. Extending the exhale will allow kids to slow down their inner speed. It’s wonderful to connect kids to their exhale to help them learn to slow themselves down, mentally and physically.

Bear Breath

Inhale through the nose, pause; exhale out the nose, pause. Breathe in for a count of 3 or 4, pause for a count of 1 or 2; breath out for a count of 3 or 4, pause for a count of 1 or 2. Repeat a few times. This will help ground and settle kids. Wonderful for restful, reflective time. Imagine a bear hibernating. Helpful before nap time, storytime or any creative activity.

Bunny Breath

Just 3 quick sniffs in the nose and one long exhale out the nose. Invite kids to pretend to be bunnies, sniffing the air for other bunnies, carrots to eat, or safety. It can be a lovely cleansing breath when you use it in this way. You can also use it when kids are very upset and can’t find their breath, because it will help them connect to their exhale so that they breathe instead of spin out.

A Life-Long Tool for Managing Stress

When we teach mindful breathing to kids, we give them a life-long tool for managing their stress and cultivating inner peace. Each and every one of us has the ability to feel calmer, more relaxed, and more alert at any given moment. This ability is called “Conscious Breathing”. Whenever we use it, we are less stressed, more mindful, more creative and just plain cooler and kinder.

When we focus on breathing fully and deeply, we move out of our sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight ) into our parasympathetic nervous system (relaxation and receptivity).  When we consciously connect with and manipulate our breath, we plug into the communication highway, linking body and mind, with the messages we want to send. With specific breathing exercises, we can calm, soothe, support or energize our emotional state as needed. You can go to this website to listen and complete mindful breathing for kids.

This blogpost was originally written by Leah Kalish, MA

Resources on Mindfulness and Breathing for Children

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Mindful breathing for kids is when children take the time to pay close attention to their breathing during that moment of time.