As a preschool teacher, I spend a lot of time teaching the children in my class how to calm their little bodies. One technique that I have been teaching is deep breathing.
At circle time, we practice breathing in through our noses and out through our mouths. The visual I often share is the idea of smelling a flower, then blowing out a birthday candle. This helps the children focus on their breath and breathe slowly. You can read more about breathing exercises for young children here.
For breath to be calming, individuals should focus on “belly breaths.” Breaths that come from the chest often cause us to hyperventilate and add to our body’s agitation, rather than calming us down. One visual aid I provide is a Hoberman Sphere so children can see it expand as they breathe in and shrink as they exhale.
We do not use computers or videos in our classroom, yet videos can be a powerful way to illustrate concepts to children. I found this video of a story about a “sea child” who uses her breathing to calm herself as she lies on her back with her hand on her belly. This is a wonderful way to teach breathing to young children. As a way to increase my home-school connection, I will be sharing this video with the parents of my preschoolers, so they can practice this breathing technique at home. It will be helpful for the parents as well to remember to breathe.