We are born knowing how to breathe, so it is something we do not think about and take for granted. However, teach children to breathe In a conscious and controlled way, it will help them to control themselves and manage emotions such as anger or anger and, therefore, avoid the dreaded tantrums. However, as we tell you a little below, a good breathing technique is also key to working on other emotions such as calm or joy.
How can we teach children this technique? To explain it, it is essential to first make an introduction. Then teach the steps and practice them. And finally, finish by explaining the importance of this technique and reflecting in what situations he / she thinks he / she could use it. The procedure of the technique will be the same for everyone, but the explanation must be adapted to the age and understanding capacity of each child.
Introduction: We will explain that our belly is like a balloon that inflates and deflates. When we put air through our nose, our belly inflates like a balloon and when we release that air through our mouth, we can see that our belly is deflated.
We do a cycle or two so that you can see this movement. When you have understood this, we ask that you put your two hands on the belly so that you can notice that movement and we explain the steps:
1. First, we breathe in through our noses, as if we were smelling our favorite food or smell (for example, the smell of fresh bread).
2. After, we hold the air for a moment without releasing it.
3. Finally, we start to release the air, little by little, through the mouth until we have no air left and the belly has completely deflated. We repeat these steps several times so they can practice it.
To children who are older (7 or 8 years old), we can give a more complete explanation and ask them to mentally count to three (1-2-3) while they breathe in through their noses. Next, we explain to them that they keep the air a little bit and release it through their mouth in four times (1-2-3-4).
Another variant that can be done with children and that helps them understand it better, is to practice all these steps lying down and putting a stuffed animal on his belly. So when they take their breaths, they can see the stuffed animal go up or down like its tummy and they can better perceive the change.
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It is not only important to explain to children the steps of how they have to breathe; it is also necessary explain the importance of this technique. If the child does not understand why it is important or in what situations we have to start it, they will not use it and therefore, it makes no sense to explain the procedure to them.
For this reason, we must give them examples through stories or cartoons where stories about anger management are told and if possible, put an example that has happened to them, that is, remind them of a time when they would get very angry or get very nervous.
For example, 'Lucas, do you remember last week when you were very angry with Carlos because he didn't want to play with you and you were very angry at the bar? What would have happened if you had started these magical steps that we have learned? ' If you have understood our entire explanation correctly, the response to this tantrum should be: 'I would have calmed down', 'My anger would have disappeared' or some similar answer.
Many times, when we get angry, we generate such tension that later, we experience headaches, fatigue or muscle aches. Therefore, learning techniques help us relax and reduce this tension, avoid consequences of this type.
If we teach children to practice these steps from a young age, they will adopt it as a resource in their repertoire of strategies to cope with anger or frustrations. And therefore, it will be an alternative to tantrums, assaults, or insults, when something seems unfair or they don't get what they want.
It's true that this breathing technique is a great tool for managing tantrums, anger, or frustration. But what would you think if I told you that breathing is the 'star technique' to manage all our emotions? Yes, you read it right. All the emotions.
When we talk about breathing, we tend to think that it only serves to manage unpleasant emotions with high intensities such as anger, frustration or fear, and it is true. In fact, in children it is what it is mainly used for. However, the breath also allows us to prolong the duration of pleasant emotions like calm, joy or hope. Or even unpleasant emotions that do not have as much energy as anger, but that we do not like to experience as shame or guilt.
In addition, we want to emphasize that children are very active especially when they are younger. And therefore, it is advisable to teach this technique together with body exercises typical of yoga or Pilates that allow them to perform movements while practicing breathing.
Now it's your turn, shall we practice?
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