Breathing Techniques to Relax Your Child
[pic]Breathing techniques are very important for inducing relaxation. They are effective for all children but can be particularly beneficial for those with special needs because it can help to avoid panic, aggression, meltdowns, or tantrums. The ultimate goal is for children to be able to relax quickly when faced with stressful situations. However, in order to do so, it’s important for children to practice breathing techniques on a daily basis, so that they become second nature.
Children are naturally fascinated by their own breathing, just getting quiet and paying attention to it is extremely soothing. Rather than thinking about the events and worries of their day, as children focus on their own breath, their minds will become quiet. Their breathing will also automatically slow down and deepen, bringing more oxygen into their bodies and helping them to relax. In the Floppy Sleep Game program, kids will practice being very quiet as they simply watch their breath. They don’t need to try to change their breath in any way. In fact, they don’t have to do anything. They will just be watching the breath as it breathes itself. It will be a time of undoing, allowing, and letting go -- a time to gather the senses that are usually focused on the outside world and turning them inward. After a few days of this simple yet valuable activity, I suggest you introduce children to belly breathing (that is diaphragmatic breathing.)
Diaphragmatic breathing, or “belly breathing,” is a wonderful way to release mental and physical stress and tension. It calms the mind and induces a state of relaxation in children’s bodies. The directions are simple: have your child lay on his back and, putting a hand on his belly, take slow, deep breaths, feeling his belly rise and fall.
Because it’s so much more fun for children to learn when imagination and fantasy are involved, visualization can be interwoven into the breathing techniques. For...