“Have bonding time with your child doing the ‘belly breath’ with both of you lying down on carpet or yoga mat.”
Belly breathing is a relaxing tool to support your child to cope with tiredness and anxiety
Our breath is vital although our breathing pattern alters in pattern and rhythm at different times of the day and in different emotional states, for example: sighing in despair, panting with exhaustion, holding our breath in fear and terror.
Usually we breathe automatically, without thinking about it, but we can also alter our breathing pattern at will.
By consciously increasing our awareness about breathing and by practising breathing exercises it is possible to:
- improve our sense of well-being
- decrease our level of stress
- help to bring mind body connection
We breathe in two different ways:
- Chest breathing
- Abdominal (or diaphragmatic) breathing.
Let’s look at ABDOMINAL BREATHING OR BELLY BREATHING.
The DIAPHRAGM is a dome-shaped muscle which separates our chest and abdomen.
When we breathe in (inhalation) – our diaphragm contracts, flattens and moves downwards, sucking air into our lungs. As our diaphragm moves down, it pushes our abdominal contents down, which forces our abdominal wall outwards.
When we breathe out (exhalation) our diaphragm relaxes and air passes out of our lungs.
So, lie down on your mat and put a bolster under your knees, close your eyes and bring your awareness to your abdomen and begin to breathe so your tummy swells or rises as you inhale and deflates when you exhale.
When we breathe into our abdomen, our primary respiratory muscle, we are moving our diaphragm, the most sedating way known to the body. This style of breathing helps calms your nervous system and stress.
Here is how to adapt with your child(children).
- Find two toy ducks (the non–squeaky kind!) or similar toys and settle down with your child on a soft carpet or mat.
- Start by showing your child what to do. Lie down on your and place one of the ducks on your abdomen.
- Show your child how you can make the duck on your belly go up and down by only using your breath!
- Some children might find it useful to place their hands on your tummy so they can feel it go up and down.
- Then guide your child to lie down with you and place the other toy duck or a toy on their tummy. Encourage your child to try and make their duck move gently up and down on their
Watch your child’s breathing to check that:
- As they breathe IN their tummy is moving UPWARDS and OUTWARDS – so they are lifting their duck up with their tummy.
- As they breathe OUT their tummy moves inwards and downwards – so letting their duck fall.
- If your child is doing the movements the other way round, reverse breathing where they suck their tummy in as they breathe in, gently try to correct them.
- Let your child do 3 or 4 breaths in a row, then take a rest so as not to become dizzy.