Express News Service

She took my car!’ ‘He hit me!’ ‘No, I don’t want to go to school’. It’s no joy ride for any parent who’s aboard their kid’s tantrum train. What makes the situation worse, however, is the parent chiding their child for the same. That’s why helping the little one to navigate emotional upsets like anger, frustration, hurt, and disappointment becomes all the more important. One way to do this is by teaching your kid breathwork, which will calm their nerves and also help them learn how to manage stress healthily.

Out of all the techniques, the candle method—pretending to blow out the candles—is easy and effective. Amey Prabhu, a Mumbai-based breath work specialist, says, “Make them imagine a birthday cake with 
a candle on it, then ask them to take a deep breath and exhale through their mouth to blow out the candle. Repeat five times,” he says, adding the method creates a neural association for relaxation and focus.

Deep breathing naturally calms one down, but this exercise lets them use their entire lung capacity to destress. “Just like in adults, when we’re stressed, we tend to breathe shallowly into the upper part of our lungs, with little movement happening at the bottom of the ribcage, which can lead us to use the wrong neck muscles, in turn making one feel more stressed,” Prabhu adds. 

To help them inhale deeply through their nose, ask them to pretend they are smelling a flower. For exhaling, you can hold up five fingers, pretend they are candles, and put them down one after the other as they blow each out.

A 2021 study published in Wiley Periodicals LLC said taking a few deep breaths ‘significantly reduces children’s physiological arousal’ in everyday settings. “Deliberate deep breathing is a powerful way to energise the child and activate the parasympathetic nervous system (that controls reactions to stress), especially when they need to focus and learn,” says Pallavi Gupta, a child and women psychologist from Delhi, sharing another breathing technique. “Ask your child to place one hand on the chest and one above the belly button. Inhale deeply and exhale slowly on the count of four, paying attention to the rise and fall of the chest and belly,” she adds.

OTHER TECHNIQUES

Bunny: Imagine a bunny rabbit sniffing, inhaling three times and exhaling through the mouth
Snake: Inhale through the nose, exhale out of the mouth with a long hissing sound
Buzzing bee: Also known as brahmari breathing, where the child hums as they exhale
Butterfly hug: Cross arms over chest and tap shoulders, breathing in and out through the nose

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