The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major effect on our lives. The last two years have brought many challenges that can be emotional, overwhelming, and stressful to say the least. The CDC reports about 4 out of 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of anxiety or depressive disorders. It is common knowledge that the pandemic has increased emotions such as anger, worry, and grief- but are the implications of COVID affecting our children’s mental health as well?
These feelings of stress and anxiety are present in both adults and children. However, there are numerous ways to cope and manage these emotions in a healthy way. In this article we hope to share some insightful tips and tricks for allowing kids to relieve stress and decompress through breathing. When kids use these techniques to express anger or anxiety without hurting themselves or others, they are better able to stay focused in class and build good friendships. Breath work is a simple and very powerful tool that can help young children calm themselves when negative feelings arise. It can be quite empowering for a child when they are able to manage their own feelings.
These breathing techniques can be helpful for adults as well. Remember- whether an adult or child, big, or small, everyone deals with stress throughout their daily lives.
One of the most commonly known tricks for helping children are simple breathing exercises. One breathing exercise known to be loved by children is blowing bubbles! Although this may seem miniscule, blowing bubbles allows kids to breathe deeply, focus on the present, and lower stress levels. Not to mention- children find this particular activity so much fun!
Another fun but useful breathing technique for children to practice relaxation could be something as simple as going outdoors in the backyard or visiting your local park and smelling flowers. Children are naturally curious so why not use that to your advantage? Have your child pick a flower they like, breathe in deeply, and smell its beautiful scent and aroma. Hold it for one second, then allow a big ol’ long exhale.
Continuing with the flower theme- another technique you can utilize is called Smell the Rose/Blow Out the Candle. On the inhale, combine the flower breath and on the exhale, blow out the candle. Simply hold up your pointer finger to your nose as “you smell the rose,” and drop your finger to your mouth as you “blow out the candle.”
As you can see, getting kids to do such simple tasks such as breathing exercises does not have to be difficult. Nor do they have to be boring. Give these techniques a try. You will find that your child will raise their emotional and physical state while just simply enjoying life!
Did you find this article helpful? What are some other interesting and fun techniques and exercises you find beneficial when it comes to a child’s mental health and emotional well-being?