Parenting a child with anxiety can be challenging. As a parent, you want to do everything you can to reduce your child’s anxiety and help them thrive. While there are many things you can do to help, one of the most simple and profound ways to manage and overcome anxiety is breath work.
From a neurological perspective, anxiety activates the sympathetic nervous system, the “fight or flight” response. Although your child’s tantrum is not actually life-threatening it feels that way to their system. During these moments, a deep breath can help your child move out of the sympathetic nervous system into the parasympathetic nervous system, the “relaxation and receptivity” response.
So, here are 3 breathing exercises to reduce anxiety in your child:
Bunny breath is 3 quick sniffs in the nose and one long exhale out the nose. For younger children, invite them to pretend to be bunnies, sniffing the air for carrots.
Flower breath is a long inhale through the nose and exhale out of the mouth. While practicing this breath have children imagine they are smelling different flowers such as tulip roses, or daisy.
Fog Breath is a deep inhale through the nose and exhale out of the mouth creating a hissing sound. For this breath, have the child pretend their hand is a mirror they must fog up.
If you have an anxious child, it is important to help them understand their powerful and confusing emotions. Take time to regularly practice these 3 exercises to help your child learn how to use their breath to slow down, control their emotions, and cultivate inner peace.
If your child continues to show signs of anxiety, they may need extra support. Please reach out to us at Kid Matters Counseling, we’re here to help.
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