Encouraging Mindfulness in Children Through Breathing

Objective:

  • Students will learn how to self-soothe themselves and stay calm and focused through an easy breathing technique.


Materials:

  • Comfortable seating arrangements
  • Optional: calming music


Introduction

Begin the lesson by asking students if they have ever felt stressed, anxious, or upset. Ask them to share their experiences and how they dealt with them. Explain that you are teaching them a breathing technique to help them manage their emotions and thoughts.


Instructions:

  1. Have them sit or lie down in a quiet and comfortable place.
  2. Ask them to close their eyes or look down at the ground.
  3. Tell them to take a deep breath using their nose and slowly exhale through their mouth. Ask them to try and make breathing out last longer than breathing in.
  4. Ask them to imagine themselves blowing up a balloon with their breath. As they inhale, the balloon gets smaller, and as they exhale, the balloon gets bigger.
  5. Advise them to focus on their breathing and the sensation of the air moving in and out of their body. Ask them to try and think about nothing except their breathing.
  6. Repeat for 5-10 breaths, or as long as they want to.


Reflection and Discussion:
To promote a follow-up discussion on whether or not the child found this technique helpful, you can ask the following questions:

  • How did you feel before and after practicing mindful breathing?
  • Did you notice any changes in your body or mind?
  • What is a situation where using this technique might help you?
  • What other times during the day could you use this technique to help you feel calm and focused?