Oct 12 2021 Calming Breathing Exercises for Children
We all — including our grandchildren — experience anxiety, at different levels of intensity. Cultivating a daily simple mindfulness practice can help.
Here are two easy mindfulness breathing exercises to share with your grandchildren, either in person or long distance.
Try them yourself first. Notice your reactions. Ask yourself: How did you feel afterward? What came up for you? How are the exercises the same? Different? Do you have a preference? Perhaps write down any thoughts and feelings you have after you practice them.
Then watch the videos with your grandchildren. Offer the same sort of probing questions: How do you feel now? Did you like one more than the other? When do you think you could use the exercises? Depending on your grandchildren’s ages, you can also ask them to either draw or write down their reactions.
This can be a very heart-centered experience, one that can stay with your grandchildren their entire lives.
Educators, click HERE for a guide to using this experience in intergenerational programs.
The Hoberman Sphere, or “Breathing Ball,” helps children get in touch with the breath in a visual way. This exercise makes them feel more relaxed, centered, and calm. They can do it before bed or anytime they feel anxious or upset. It has quite the magical effect on kids, especially the visual learners. And for the audio learners, be sure to listen to the birds chirping!
Another calming mindfulness exercise that kids love comes from Kundalini Yoga and each syllable has to do with the life cycle. As with the Breathing Ball, Satanama can be used any time kids feel anxious or fearful or just feel the need to calm down—for example, before a test, when disagreeing with a sibling or friend, or before bedtime to help them fall asleep.
It can be done anywhere and anytime—no props needed, just their fingers. Kids love to say the syllables and to make up their own. Here are a few: ha-ne-shee-mah (“the breath” in Hebrew); 1-2-3-4; wa-ter-mel-on; and a-vo-ca-do. Feel free to create your own.
Nancy Siegel is an internationally recognized presenter, teacher trainer, and instructor specializing in mindfulness education and children’s yoga teacher training. She advocates, nurtures and supports parents, grandparents and educators by offering tools and techniques to bring more calm into their homes and classrooms. She feels blessed to have 4 adult children and 11 grandchildren. For more in-depth Mindful Parenting virtual training, contact Nancy: firstname.lastname@example.org, https://nancysiegelconsulting.com/. Visit her YouTube Channel