Teach Breathing, Teach Control

What if you could stop your child from crying hysterically or throwing a tantrum in a few seconds? Whether your kid hurt himself, didn’t get his way and got upset or is for whatever reason having a strong, painful (and probably very loud) reaction/experience… there are very powerful and simple tools you can use to help your child regain control of themselves.

I’ve been practicing meditation and yoga since I was about 14 years old. Depression has always been a part of my life and simply by meditating and using breathing techniques I’ve been able to stay away from medication. Not to say medication is wrong, for some people it’s the only way to cope, but as people we should generally strive for balance and peace within ourselves, regardless who we are or what we do. It’s like the difference between someone who exercises and someone who doesn’t, obviously exercise benefits us.

We don’t have to get into hippie phrases and chanting ohm, we can stick to the simple physiological benefits of increased oxygen intake, lowering adrenaline and cortisol, slowing down breathing and heart rate or simply reducing stress hormones. I will give you a simple and concrete example.

  • Ean is hungry/tired/frustrated/in pain and starts to cry.
  • If someone is too close to him, I ask them to give him space.
  • I hold him in front of me, steady but not hard (you don’t want to add fear to the fuel that is already flaming inside of him).
  • I tell him to look at me, put my hand on his chest, and I tell him to relax, look at me, and repeat until I have his attention between the tears.
  • If he’s not making eye contact with me, I embrace him and tell him he’s okay and because he at this stage can’t even hear me speak due to the loud crying, I speak/whisper directly into his ear to relax.
  • I just let him hear my breathing. Deep and slow like when you sleep. I tell him to breath deep and I inhale quite loud and powerful (always through the nose) so he can both hear it and feel my chest expand, and exhale (it can be more stress relieving to exhale through the mouth), loud, powerful and long.

Within three breaths, he is calm, collected and ready to process whatever happened to him, or perhaps just needs some more comfort and time to recover with a few more breaths and cuddles.

This is such a basic and fundamental thing with us as humans and it’s still something we neglect too much in our daily lives. We benefit so much both psychologically and physiologically by simply taking a few deep breaths a couple of times per day whether we’re going through something difficult or simply need to feel refreshed, who doesn’t?

Instead we drink coffee, smoke cigarettes or check our notifications in hope of getting a bit of dopamin and restauration back into ourselves… when all we need to do, is breath. Teaching your child these techniques at an early age makes them more in touch with themselves, balanced, far easier to deal with and gives them priceless tools to use in their life when they’re going through something. So, do your kid a favor, teach them to breath.

If you, while reading this article realised that you took a few extra deep breaths, give this article a thumbs up or share it with someone you think might benefit from it.