Teaching children to belly breathe is an easy way to help deal with strong emotions.
Teaching young children to deal with strong emotions including anger and frustration is an important part of the work I do with schools In the Everyday Magic positive education course I show that even the littlest members of the school community can use these important tools, especially belly breathing.
So many children (and adults), breathe only into their chests. Unfortunately chest breathing can promote feelings of unease and even anxiety. By contrast breathing into the belly promotes feelings of calm and steadiness. Teaching the techniques could not be simpler.
- Have the children place their hands lightly on their belly.
- Tell them to imagine there is an empty balloon in their belly, just beneath their hands
- Ask them to breathe in slowly and steadily filling the balloon as they do so. They can watch the movement of their hands as they breathe.
- Then they breathe out slowly emptying the balloon once more.
It can take a bit of practise to get it right, but the difference it makes to managing emotions is well worth it. Here is a great video from Sesame Street on this very topic. Children love joining in.