Children benefit greatly from learning basic breathing techniques. This particular exercise helps to calm children through focusing on lengthening their inhalations and exhalations. It will also help to reduce stress, improve oxygen intake, and provide a refuge from a sometimes chaotic world.
When speaking with a special education expert he mentioned that this technique is self-employed by many of his students when they are feeling worked up. They simply say, “I’m gonna Take 5″ and retire to a quiet corner to spend a few minutes breathing and calming down. In this way children learn to recognize stressful situations and find a more productive way to dealing with the stress than thru tantrums, panic, aggression or meltdowns.
I will often use Take 5 at the beginning of a yoga class to teach how to take a complete breath and to prepare all participants for their yoga practice. Once children have learned this breathing technique, a simple reminder “How about you Take 5″ is often all that is needed for them to realise their emotions are taking over and they need to remember to breathe.
Sit comfortably. Lift one finger at a time as you breathe in through your nose and count in your mind: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Pause for a second. As you exhale, count backward (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) putting down a finger for each number. Repeat 2 or 3 times.
At first younger children may find it very difficult to count all the way to five, so start with counting to three and build from there. Kids may also find it hard to control the exhale, wanting it to explode out, instead of gradually releasing the breath. Keep trying and Take 5 will get easier with practice.
Question: What techniques do you use to help your children to handle stressful situations, meltdowns and tantrums? How do you handle the same situations?