Kia ora Katoa,
As I have travelled through the region supporting and training this month I have found myself talking about teaching breathing as a technique to calm big emotions, and to slow down when feeling stressed or anxious. A lot of our children and young people experience anxiety and stress as we do ourselves as their Caregivers.
As we feel anxious our breathing will change. We tend to take short, quick, shallow breaths or even hyperventilate. Doing calm breathing can help lower the anxiety, giving a sense of control. Calm breathing is a great portable tool, especially in situations when you are not there to help your child through it.
Here are some tips to try:
Teaching Breathing techniques to calm big emotions for Younger Children: Bubble Blowing or blowing the soup…
A fun way to teach your younger child how to do calm breathing is with “bubble blowing”. Using a bubble blower have your child practice blowing bubbles. The breathing required for blowing soap bubbles is the same as what is used for calm breathing. Simply make sure your child waits a second or two before blowing another bubble. Then practice “blowing bubbles” without a bubble wand.
Or cup your hands and pretend to blow the hot soup to cool it, then breathe in the wonderful smell of the soup and repeat with a little pause in between.
Although “bubble blowing” or “smelling & cooling the soup” is a great way to practice calm breathing, it is important to remind your child that he or she is doing this to learn how to breathe calmly. Explain to them that they are practicing a helpful tool for when they feel scared, anxious or out of control
For older kids and adults-Since calm breathing involves taking slow, controlled breaths from the diaphragm, another way to explain this technique is to present it as “belly breathing”. Inhale slowly for 4 seconds through the nose.
- Ask your child to pretend that he or she is blowing up a balloon in the belly, so your child’s belly should inflate when inhaling.
- Wait 2 seconds, and then slowly exhale through the mouth. Ask your child to pretend that he or she is emptying the balloon of air, so the tummy should deflate.
- Wait 2 seconds, and then repeat.
When belly breathing, make sure your child’s upper body (shoulders and chest area) is fairly relaxed and still. Only the belly should be moving!
Watch this clip called Just Breathe, its just 3.41 min long and well worth the watch-it’s a really lovely clip
Have fun while you teach, the fun increases your emotional connection with your child too.
Please reach out for support if you are struggling with understanding either the behaviours of the children living with you, or what caring for your children is making you feel like. You can reach me on 027 5020391 or Fostering Kids NZ 0800 693 323.
I hope to see you about at a training or support event near you soon.
Kia Kaha, kia manawa nui / take care, stay strong
If you need support to unload, upload or just to meet other like-minded people attend one the groups below in Southland or phone me to see what’s happening near you. Barbara on 027 501 0391.
Southland Foster Care Association are meeting at Buster Crabs at 10.30am Wednesday 17 October for coffee and cake. Please phone Rose 027 497 0132 for more information.
Woodlands Carers Support Group next meeting is at the Woodlands Church hall at 10.00am on Thursday 11 October- Children & toddlers welcome, there is plenty of play equipment available.
Family Events- The family pool parties and bowling events are happening again during the first week of November so save the dates and tickets will be issued during October.
- Dunedin pool party at Moana Pool –Saturday the 3 November
- Invercargill pool party at splash palace –Sunday the 4 November
- Queenstown indoor ten pin bowling evening Monday the 5 November
If you would like tickets, please email Jennifer at email@example.com.
Term 4 workshop calendar is now open for registration. We will also be offering weekend workshop options, as well as some evening and 2 hour discussions sessions. Please check our Training Calendar link and be sure to register for the workshops offered or you can contact Christine on 0800 100 849. I look forward to meeting you there!
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