What do I need to do?
You can do this anywhere but it can be easier if you sit or lie down
Try to breathe gently through your nose
Breathe in while counting slowly to four in your head
Wait a second then breathe out while you slowly count to four
Repeat for four minutes
How do I know if I'm doing it right?
Listen to your breathing - it should be smooth and gentle
Feel your tummy just under your ribs - it should rise and fall slowly as you gently breathe in and out
What else can help?
Try closing your eyes - if you feel comfortable doing so
Try listening to some quiet music
Think of a very happy memory
Practice this everyday - don't wait until you need it
Other activities that promote breath control
The skill involved in successfully blowing bubbles requires slow and gentle exhalations of breath. It can also be highly motivating and fun for younger children. Running around chasing bubbles is also a useful way of regulating breathing.
Blowing out candles
Another simple way of getting children to think about their breathing is by getting them to blow out a candle. This strategy involves relighting the candle each time they blow it out and moving it a little further away. This in turn requires increasingly deeper breaths and controlled blowing to reach the candle.
Singing out loud requires breath control and may have its own calming benefits too. It doesn't matter how tuneful or not the singing is, just let them enjoy it.
Reading out loud
Just like singing, reading out aloud requires breath control. The book is also a distraction from any anxious thoughts and feelings. Reading a favourite book or reciting funny poetry can help them stay calm.