What does this drawing have to do with relaxation? Well, It’s one thing to use deep breathing techniques or visualization to calm down when you’re an adult. It’s quite another story to try and get children to calm themselves or decrease their own anxiety, but they can, using relaxation breathing for kids.
One technique that works for myself is something called triangle breathing. Each step in this breathing exercise forms a side of an equilateral triangle:
- Take a deep breath for a measured count (some do a count of 6 or 7)
- Hold your breath for the same count
- Deeply exhale for the same count or longer.
Try doing this breathing exercise for a few minutes, and you’ll find that your mind gets cleared and you feel more relaxed.
Personalize the visualization
It’s a challenge for me to get my child to calm himself, but making him visualize the breathing technique in a more personal way helped.
My son has a collection of six beloved bears, and for his visualization, the breathing gets broken down to these three steps:
- Inhale, as one of the bears climbs the ladder to a slide
- Hold the breath as the bear looks at four trees around the playground
- Exhale, as the bear slides down the slide.
Picture each of the bears taking their turn in going down the slide. Once all six bears have gone down the slide, the exercise is over. Thankfully, at this point, he has usually calmed down enough that we can better discuss what is upsetting him.
Depending on the age of your child, you may need to guide him or her into something that works best. In our case, the bears are a really good motivation at this age, and he knows he just needs to do the breathing exercise for as long as it takes to allow all the bears their chance at the slide 🙂
What helps your child to relax or calm themselves? I’m eager for more ideas. Let me know in the comments!