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Inhale, Exhale: Why Practicing Dragon Breathing Can Help Your Child Manage Their Emotions

When children experience big emotions like anger, frustration, fear, or sadness, they may not know what these feelings mean or how to let them out. Teaching your child to take some deep dragon breaths during emotional moments can help their mind and body calm down.

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Dragon breathing is a type of breathing exercise you and your child can practice that focuses on taking deep, slow breaths. While there are many types of breathing exercises, they all focus on taking a deep breath in, filling the lungs up with air, and exhaling all the air from the body.

How can breathing exercises help my child calm down?

When the body feels stress, we start to take in quick, shallow breaths, our heart rate and blood pressure increase, and our muscles get tense. When we breathe deeply in these moments, we can slow down our breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. This sends signals to the brain that we’re no longer in a stressful situation, and our body can calm down.

Are there other benefits of breathing exercises?

Research has shown that doing breathing exercises can boost the immune system, which is responsible for fighting off viruses and infections. It also increases feelings of calm and helps clear the mind so you can refocus on the task at hand.

Learning how to use breathing to manage big emotions can help prepare your child for the challenges life may throw at them. They learn to become resilient or bounce back quickly from difficult situations. Children who learn to manage their emotions and their reactions to those emotions tend to have better relationships as adults, be more satisfied with life, and experience fewer health problems.

When can I start teaching my child breathing exercises?

It’s never too early or too late to teach your child about dragon breathing! You can start modeling this type of breathing when they’re a baby. Hug your baby and make eye contact with them, which can increase their feelings of attachment and security with you. Then, you can show them how to breathe in deeply and breathe out slowly. It’ll help them calm down and learn how to soothe themselves. Children as young as 2 years old can start learning how to do dragon breathing on their own.

How can I teach my child dragon breathing?

The best time to start teaching breathing exercises is when your child is already calm. Some caregivers practice breathing exercises as part of their child’s bedtime routine because it can help them drift off to sleep.

When your child is calm and ready, guide them through some simple instructions. Here’s an idea of how you can talk them through dragon breathing:

  • Place one hand on your belly. Can you feel it move when you breathe in and out?

  • Take a deep breath with me, breathing in all the air you can. Try to fill your belly with so much air you make your hand move!

  • Let out all the air like a dragon breathing fire. Great job! You breathed just like a dragon. Let’s try it again.

As you go about your day, show your child that you’re also practicing dragon breathing. If you start feeling stressed or upset, practice breathing exercises in front of your child. The more they see you do it, the more they’ll want to do it too.

Learn more about dragon breathing.

First 5 California
Contributed by:
First 5 California
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