Breathing techniques work well for children and adults as well and have the power to reduce the effects of stressful situations. At the Montessori School of Pleasanton, we incorporate breathing techniques as a way of helping our elementary students get control of their emotions and deal with anxiety and unpleasant situations.
Pretend that you are holding a handful of fresh flowers in your hand. Inhale deeply and imagine the scent. Exhale slowly, and think about the smell of the flowers. Repeat this process a few times. This method is great for elementary children because it gives them something to focus on while using controlled breathing, which takes their mind off the causes of stress or anxiety.
Feathers and Ribbons
Choose a feather or short piece of ribbon and hold it in front of your face. Breathe in deeply and then exhale slowly, watching the way your breath moves the surface of the item you are holding. Make a game of this technique, where the goal is to breathe on the item with only slight movements of the item you are holding. This exercise works well and helps children see the results of controlled breathing as it affects the surface of an object.
Take a deep breath and hold it for a count of five. Exhale slowly, making a quiet humming or buzzing sound as you do so. Repeat as necessary to calm down. It may help to close your eyes and pretend that you are alone in a field of flowers. This breathing exercise works well for elementary children because it incorporates a type of play into the process and gives them an activity to go along with the breathing technique.
Lie down and breathe deeply and slowly. Feel the air filling your lungs and expanding your chest. Hold each breathe for a few seconds before exhaling, and exhale as much as possible before taking the next deep breath. Research has shown that this is an excellent way to offset the “fight or flight” syndrome related to high anxiety.
Breathing techniques play a central role in yoga and other self-control routines as well as a way to regain a normal rhythm after heavy exercise. If you would like more information about ways to help your children remain in control of their emotions, talk with one of the student guides at the Montessori School of Pleasanton.