Do you want to dive into learning the importance of the best breathing exercise for children? Here’s what are our best suggestions.
The importance of breathing exercises for children cannot be ignored. In the modern-day lifestyle, we are less focused on physical activities and the ways we can improve our and our children’s life. One such forgotten way is to teach the kids to practice breathing exercises.
In ancient times when societies experienced real danger, it was perfectly normal for them to go into “flight or fight” mode, which involved the autonomic nervous system, as we covered in our previous vlog. However, in today’s world, many stressors are both real and imaginary. It’s imperative that we learn how to better manage our body’s responses to these situations in more appropriate ways. And these ways nurture and support our well-being in the long run.
Importance Of Breathing Excercise for Children
If we consider that our breath is linked to our state, then it stands to reason that we each have the power to keep a steady head whenever we want. The same goes for our children.
As parents, we can teach our children breathing techniques to help them calm their own anxiety. These techniques may also prove helpful for children who have respiratory problems like asthma. Though in these cases, a medical council should also be sought.
When a child is experiencing a strong emotional reaction – their ability to think, talk to us, explain what is happening for them, and listen to instructions is reduced. This is a short-term side effect of the flight, flight, and freeze responses.
Physiological Tension Among Children And The Breathing
In the long term, children who have a high level of physiological tension are more likely to experience increased physical and emotional problems. These problems include like ongoing anxiety, headaches, stomach aches, muscle soreness, and sleep problems.
It makes sense then to help children reduce their physiological tension and one way is by teaching them the practice of deep belly breathing and the calming benefits thereof.
We need to help children practice relaxation – and to specifically start doing this with them when they are calm. Nobody can think straight mid-tantrum. Also remembering that any strategy we want children to use regularly, and in stressful situations, needs to be really simple and well-explained. Regular practice is also what makes the difference. We can’t just explain this once and expect young people to know how to do this.
When kids are in mid-tantrum cortisol surges through their body, making them act out of instinct rather than intention. That’s part of the fight-or-flight response. By teaching them to take a deep breath in moments like this. Research shows that there are real benefits to the age-old adage, as getting upset has tangible, measurable effects on our bodies.
When we’re stressed, adrenaline and cortisol flood through the body. The heart starts beating faster, so fat and sugar are sent to the bloodstream to provide accessible energy. It makes our senses become sharper.
What Happens When We’re Anxious?
When anxious, we tend to take more frequent breaths, which increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the body. Blood vessels respond by constricting, limiting blood flow to organs and tissues, and causing blood pressure to drop. This lack of blood flow is to blame for the numb or tingling feeling some people get during panic attacks.
Slow, deep breaths reverse these processes. The measured inhale and exhale help restore the body’s carbon dioxide levels, turn off the fight-or-flight response, and help put the body at rest. Research shows that deep breathing exercises reduce anxiety and pain in children and even improve their test performance at school.
By practicing how to breathe slowly and deeply every day with your child/ren, even when you’re all not anxious, and making it a normal aspect of each day’s activities and rituals, you build up bandwidth to better cope when you do feel anxious and/or stressed.
Breathing exercises for kids can be a powerful tool in any family’s behavioral toolbox.
Let’s have a look at you can integrate breathing exercise for children to make it part of everyday life for you and your child/ren.