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How To Get Your Kids into Breathwork

Breathwork is steadily becoming one of the leading practices in helping and empowering people all over the world to; find peace in a busy world, balance in the different roles they play and themselves in a world that demands them to be everything else.

When it comes to breathing, what can we say? Everyone does it! Everyone can breathe for surviving or thriving. Learning to breathe efficiently and consciously can be powerful, transformative and life-changing. Breathing the right way returns us to our optimal state of being; our true nature with a plethora and a richness of innate, instinctual and inborn reflects and responses that our bodies, brains and being knows of to restore balance, rest, recover and receive the outside world.

How to get Kids to do Breathwork?

One question that I’ve been asked many times when considering Children and Breathwork is “how do you get Children to pay attention and concentrate?”.

Reflecting on this question, I often felt like this question is commonly asked from the perspective of associating Breathwork with Meditation. There’s a key difference between

Breathwork and Meditation, and Brethwork and Pranayama – Meditation usually involves using your Mind to switch off and thinking about not thinking, which can at times, be a challenging skillset to engage with, especially if in a heightened emotional state. Breathwork on the other hand, is straight to the point and uses the Body to switch off the Mind. The attention and intention of the respiratory system and physiology bypasses the attention of the Rational Mind and switches off.

Speaking from my background as a School Teacher, I know that each day in my classroom, each Child comes to school and has been dealt a different hand of cards; One

Child might have gotten into an argument with their Sibling before coming to school. One Child might have forgotten their lunch. One Child might have been rushed out the door because Mum or Dad needed to get to work early. Perhaps another Child might have been bullied in the playground before Class.

Different events and interactions continue throughout the school day and have the potential to either add to and improve a Child’s cards that they’re playing or take away from it and contribute to their ‘bad-day’. Breathwork can help Children to learn to play their cards better.

Breathwork is engaging and easy to participate in!

I’ve facilitated Breathwork sessions to Children from Kindergarten to Year 12, each with their own abilities, personalities and communication styles and I have come to the realisation that what makes Breathwork so powerful and effective is that it is accessible!

Regardless of age, background, language, ability and experience, it works! Breathwork can be easy to follow as it can be demonstrated, modeled, guided and facilitated, which is what makes it a potent skill to teach to Children.

Breathwork can equip us with the skills needed to meet the demands of changing emotional states, challenging situations and the stress factors of the past, present and future.

At one end of the spectrum, Breathwork can support you in helping the body process and release any unresolved emotions or trauma that has been stored in the body’s tissues and empower you to find new ways to deal with stress and emotional challenges, enhance creativity, flow and raise consciousness. 

On another level, Breathwork can support kids and adults to develop enhanced oxygen efficiency, which can often translate into improvements in body awareness, immunity from ailments, sports performance, cognition and ability to adapt to new situations.

With Breathwork as a superpower, imagine what life from this vantage point could look and feel like! A combination of optimised Breathing and Breathwork practices can help to influence mood, emotions, mental state, Heart rate, energy levels, metabolism, performance, recovery and focus, so what could this look like for Children in the home and classroom?

Teach Our Kids To Breathe

Children could learn to breathe better to help them in all areas of their lives, for instance; improve their concentration in the classroom, play better on the sports field, bounce back more effectively after a meltdown or behavioral episode and de-stress from the pressures of the classroom, homework and assessments. The possibilities and potential are limitless and this is just the beginning of the mountain of discovery that awaits!

Tips to Develop A Breathwork Practice For Kids

Here are some tips to help you foster and develop a breathwork practice for Children:

  1. Pick appropriate times during the day when Children are more likely to respond to doing Breathwork with you. 
  2. Timetable it into the day and add it in visually if you need to so Children can see that it’s there.At first there might be resistance, however, as you incorporate this into a Child’s routine, consistency builds familiarity, so be brave and bold, knowing that they’ll adapt.
  3. At home, this could be upon waking up, before leaving for School or work, getting home in the afternoon and before bed. At School you could fit in a quick Breathwork session after morning Roll call, before or after Recess, Lunch or Home time.
  4. Be realistic about the amount of focussed time, free of distractions that you can sit with your Child/Children/Class and practice Breathwork. Start small and gradually build the time! Whether it is 1 minute, 5 minutes or 20 minutes, every amount of Breathwork is like a deposit into everyone’s wellbeing!

Breathwork Techniques For Kids

While there are many different Breathwork techniques out there, find what you and your Child respond well to and go from there. Encourage progress and what your Child, Children or Class do, rather than what they don’t.

Kids like Adults, will have days where they’re more focussed and on-point with their routines, so acknowledge and make space for this too. Live and lead by example. Walk the talk in your integrity as a Parent/Teacher and show them that you are also actively practising Breathwork. You could also keep help each other accountable with a visual tracking sheet that looks appealing and is in a place that you can both see. 

Think of intrinsic motivators and affirming pictures or words that can be put in the background of this too. It might sound tempting to link this to an extrinsic reward, treat or favourite activity, but I feel like the key here is to make the motivators as intrinsic as possible to make it very personal and real-world relative.

Keep it simple and make it fun! For instance, you could practice different breathing techniques and associate them with a preferred colour or toy to help them remember. In a Classroom setting, you might like to either make your own visuals or ask Children to make their own that help them remember and connect with different breathing techniques. Get creative and imaginative!

Having a range of percussion instruments can help set up an engaging and stimulating environment for practising Breathwork with your Children. Take time to learn how to use these instruments with your Children and take turns facilitating and guiding each other as practice builds and develops.

Breathwork is a gift that keeps giving and by learning to breathe better, we can all learn to live better. Whether it be through improvements to our own lives or the ways that we can support and enrich others’, what comes with Breathwork practice is that it helps create more flow, harmony and more coherence. With more coherence, there is more connection and with more connection, everyone and everything around you is given the opportunity to thrive.

Lead By Example: Our Role as Parents

When Children come into our world, we as Parents and Carers become Teachers, not because we dictate and tell them what to do, but because we have the power to live and lead by example and we have a lot of influence in a Child’s life. Children are the future of this world. It’s time we lead them back into themselves, to discover who they are and what they are truly capable of. With no limits to age, Breathwork can be taught to children of all ages and with effective modeling, they can develop these practices into life skills that will continue to enrich their lives for many years to come. Start today, step by step, one breath at a time!