Respiratory care specialists suggest that breathing exercises can benefit children and help them relax when undergoing stressful situations. By learning to relax through the breathing practice children can better concentrate on schoolwork and may even become more self-aware.

Here are five breathing techniques that may help calm children’s stress levels and anxiety.

Children Under 8 – Savasana Pose

Respiratory therapists can testify to the fact that children under the age of 8 get a grasp on breathing for relaxation exercises because they are still very sensitive to their feelings, their environment and pick up on a calming environment. Teach children to practice the yogic savasana pose. Ask children to lie flat on their back with their palms facing upward and their eyes should be closed. Tell them to inhale deeply through their nose and exhale through their mouth. Continue this technique for several minutes until feeling relaxed.

Alternate Nostril Breathing

This is the perfect exercise to teach children aged 8 to teens. Have children sit comfortably on a yoga mat. Ask them to press one nostril closed and inhale deeply through the open nostril, exhale slowly through the mouth. They then breathe in and out using only one nostril for a minute or two. Then have them close they’re other nostrils and inhale deeply, then exhale slowly through their mouth. This promotes a balance to both sides of the brain.

Belly Breathing

Teach children deep-belly breathing. Have children first synchronize their breathing so they are all breathing in rhythm. Practice this for several minutes and then ask them to place the flat of their hands on their tummies, inhale deeply and feel their stomach expand with each inhale. This breathing method is also called the diaphragmatic method. It helps children focus but also helps them relax.

Acupressure Breathing

Ask children to inhale deeply through their nose then slowly exhale while massaging the center of their palm. Find other pressure points on the body and massage these while massaging these pressure points.

Four Seven Eight

Have children sit or lie down in a comfortable position.  Then have them place their hands in their lap or at their sides. Inform them to keep their face forward and look straight ahead but don’t really focus on any one object. Inform them to inhale deeply through their nose and exhale through their mouth.  While performing the exercise, have him or her keep the tip of their tongue in contact with the top of their mouth. Continue to have them inhale for 4 seconds, hold the breath for 7 and exhale for eight seconds. Do this exercise for several minutes to help them calm their nerves.

Respiratory therapists tell parents that teaching children breathing techniques shows the children how to relax and keep calm in stressful situations. But it also gives them a stress fighting skill they can use for the rest of their lives. Breathing exercises may also teach them to get in touch with their emotions, learning how to control them better, thereby controlling their stress under any type of situation. For parents wanting to learn more about breathing exercises or respiratory care, they are advised to contact their family doctor or a respiratory therapist.

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