Belly Breathing

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What to Teach Your Child: Deep Breaths Can Help You Relax

Even kids feel stress. But trying to teach your child how to deal with her sadness, anxiousness, or upset in the moment is usually unsuccessful. She will be too emotional to focus on learning.

To help your child manage stress, first teach him to recognize stress. Here's a good clue: When your body muscles tighten up, when it feels like your muscles are squeezing together, it is time to relax. Then, practice techniques that will help calm and soothe him so that when he feels that tight, squeezed feeling, he will know he can do something to feel better.

A deep-breathing exercise is an easy technique your child can use to relieve stress. For example, she can practice belly breathing on the playground if she is sad when someone won't play with her. She can practice belly breathing if she gets upset when you tell her she needs to do something other than watch TV.

Help your child learn belly breathing and remind him kindly when he can try it. Breathe deeply right along with him. You'll both feel better.

What's the FIT Connection?

Teaching your child about how to manage stress and relax is part of raising FIT kids. Without the ability to relax when they feel stressed, kids can drain all of their energy with negative emotions and negative actions, like hitting or yelling or even pouting. Kids who stay stressed also have trouble falling asleep, and the quality of their sleep suffers as well.

Kids who know how to manage their stress are more equipped to live a FIT life. If they learn healthy methods to soothe themselves, like relaxation techniques, they don't have to resort to unhealthy habits like overeating or zoning out for hours in front of the TV.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on April 03, 2014
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