Have you ever been in a stressful situation and had to tell yourself to stop and take a deep breath? Do you remember how you felt once you took that breath? Generally, when we are angry or stressed our breathing becomes shallow and short, cutting off much needed oxygen to the brain. By pausing to notice your breathing and taking longer, deeper breaths, you allow oxygen to flow through your body and calm the mind and spirit.

Children of all ages can learn how to use deep breathing to calm down, but the concept is somewhat an abstract one. In fact, I have found that when you ask a younger child to take a deep breath, they usually take short, quick breaths. Children need to learn how to slow their breathing down before they can benefit from its calming effects. This month’s compass is using bubbles to teach children how to breathe slowly and deeply in a fun and interactive way.

What You Will Need:

  • A bottle of bubble solution and small bubble wand
  • Some patience

Directions:

  1. First, have your child hold up the wand and blow quickly. Ask what he or she notices? (Answer: There are a lot of small bubbles)
  2. Next, have your child blow slowly. What happens? (Answer: The bubbles are fewer but bigger)
  3. As your child gets better, have him try to blow the biggest bubble he can. This helps him to gain control over his breath and learn how to breathe slowly.
  4. If your child cannot blow bubbles, you can model it for her and ask her what she notices. Then you can help her practice taking a deep breath as if she is getting ready to blow a big bubble. (NOTE: Please supervise younger children to ensure that they do not put bubble wands in their mouths).

What we like about this compass:

  • It’s a fun activity that children of all ages can enjoy.
  • It is a skill that can be used quickly, anytime, and in most places.
  • It provides a nice visual representation of breathing. Children know when they are getting it because they can see their bubbles getting bigger and bigger.
  • Even younger children understand that bubbles help them feel happy and calm. A more mature child will make the connection between the breathing and feeling of calm.
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