Break out the backpacks folks, it’s time to head back to school! This is an extremely exciting time for our little ones…but it can also be a stressful time. The anticipation of a new teacher, new classmates and a new routine can leave some kids feeling anxious. Breathing exercises help children slow down their bodies and minds, and can be extremely useful in helping them manage stress. I use breathing exercises with my students before we begin therapy sessions. I find that they are particularly helpful at the beginning of the year when students may still be a little apprehensive about coming to speech.
Here are two breathing exercises to try with your child:
1. “Ocean Breath”
-Sit “feet to seat” (i.e., kneeling on ground with backs of feet touching the bottom). Be sure to sit straight and tall! Take a deep inhale into the belly. Exhale through the nose while creating a sound in the back of the throat (it sounds like the ocean!). Repeat 3-5 times.
2. “Lion’s Breath”
-Sit “feet to seat.” Take a deep inhale into the belly. Open the mouth and eyes wide. Stretch the tongue out long, and exhale with a big “HAAAAAAA” (like a lion’s roar!). Repeat 3-5 times.
(Source: Marvel, J. (2013). Kid’s Yoga Journey Teacher Training Manual. Charleston, SC.)
Try these breathing exercises with your child at night before he or she goes bed, or in the morning before your child leaves for school. You might be amazed at what a difference it makes. Maintaining a calm, relaxed environment can help your child start his or her day on a positive note. Wishing everyone a fantastic start to the school year!