Every toddler knows that breathing is a powerful tool. Toddlerhood is all about control, and little kids know there is no better way to control a situation than by holding their breath.
According to Drs. Caron and Tom Goode, co-directors of the International Breath Institute, one of the best ways to calm an upset child is with deep breathing. When you see or feel your child becoming tense, the doctors suggest you ask her to take five deep breaths, rest, and then take five more. This breathing exercise will help the child relax and can be repeated until she is calm and can express her needs more clearly.
In addition to aiding relaxation, encouraging children to breathe deeply has a host of other benefits as well. Deep breathing can help children:
- Sleep better.
- Strengthen their immune systems by increasing their oxygen supply.
- Relieve symptoms of asthma.
- Improve concentration, which can result in an increase in academic achievement and a decrease in behavior issues.
- Deal with anxiety and stress, which can result in improved test performance.
- Control situations and overcome obstacles, because deep breathing is an excellent coping mechanism.
- Obtain a sense of calm, which is reflected in every part of their lives.
Regrettably, many children miss out on these benefits due to improper breathing. When newborns enter this world, they breathe fully and deeply. Their first hungry gulps of oxygen are taken in with an enthusiasm that guarantees growth and survival. But over time, this innate breathing pattern is replaced with a shallower one, which greatly affects a child's overall health and well being.