Making breathing fun! by Megan Roney

A key part of every BODY’s regulation is breath. While it may seem inherent to remember to breathe, stress to the body can easily stifle the natural breath pattern, causing us to hold our breath or shorten our breath as a reaction to feeling anxious. This can happen to our kids when entering an unfamiliar environment, when a change in schedule occurs, or during times of sensory overload. Here’s the kicker…when this happens telling our kids to “just take a breath” is about as helpful as feeding a thirsty puppy peanut butter.

So, what can we do? Let’s make breathing fun and exciting! Here are a few ideas to reload the steam in your kid’s engine through the power of good ol’ O2.

• Have a cotton ball race: blow cotton balls or other small items across a table through a straw and across a finish line
• Blow up balloons and play keep it up
• Blow bubbles and use your breath to keep them up in the air
• Make some music! Play harmonicas, whistles or small flutes
• Breathe like your favorite animals
o Lion’s breath – inhale deeply and on your exhale stick out your tongue and let out a roar!
o Snake breath – inhale deeply and on your exhale push the air through closed teeth to make a hissing noise.
o Bumble bee breath – inhale deeply and on your exhale cover your ears and hum with your lips closed, feeling a buzz with your breath.
• Check out the free Breathe, Think, Do phone app from Sesame Street. Help the monster calm down by taking deep belly breaths!

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