Breathing away your child’s stress

While children experience stress much in the same way adults do, there is one major difference. Children lack the life experience to cope or deal with their stress.

While children experience stress much in the same way adults do, there is one major difference. Children lack the life experience to cope or deal with their stress.

by Lisa Redmond — 

There is no denying that life is stressful, and children are no different than adults when it comes to stress. They endure stress within the family, related to the emotions and behaviors of parents and siblings. They have the social stress of peer pressure, sharing and negotiating friendships, separation from the home and countless other things that happen throughout their days.

While children experience stress much in the same way adults do, there is one major difference. Children lack the life experience to cope or deal with their stress. Often, they act out, become defiant, lose control, and sometimes even shut down. So how can we, as parents, assist them in learning to handle their stress?

The simplest way to handle stress is to learn to relax and breathe. That is right, breathe. It’s something we do every moment of every day. We do not even have to think about it — but that is just it. We do not think about it. Here is an opportunity to teach your child the importance of breathing, and its relaxing affects on the body.

Breathing 101

Getting comfortable — Sit, stand or lie down. This can be done anywhere you choose. Hold your shoulders back and upper body straight so that your airway is as open as possible.

Inhaling — Inhale through your nose slowly, and as deeply into your belly as you can. To control your rate of breath, it helps to count. A six-count breath is sufficient. Hold for two counts.

Exhaling — Exhale through your mouth, making the exhalation longer than your inhalation by at least two counts. This allows your body to adjust to a slowing rhythm.

Frequency — Obviously, the more a child practices this technique, the greater the benefit. However, doing this for five minutes several times a day is a good way to get into the habit of deliberate breathing. It’s a great way to start and end the day. Other opportunities might be just before a test, or when emotions are running high.

Deep breathing supplies more oxygen to every organ, while toxins are removed from the body. It exercises the breathing muscles and activates the relaxation process. Emotional stability is generated, allowing for clearer thinking. The ability to learn is increased.

This practice can be shared by the entire family and can benefit everyone. By incorporating deep breathing into your child’s life, you give them one of the best tools to promote self-management. What better gift could you offer?

 

Lisa Redmond is an empowerment coach for children, specializing in building self-esteem and confidence. lisa@trueselfconnection.com or 602-680-6700.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 24, Number 4, August/September 2005.

, , , ,
Web Analytics