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5 Fun Breathing Exercises To Help Your Fam Feel Centered

Your little ones (and you) are just a few deep breaths away from bliss!

Daniel Fernandez



Breathing exercises are an excellent tool for those moments that come up when you or your children find themselves anxious, upset, or overwhelmed by life — like when you tell them you ate the last Rice Krispie treat and you bear witness to a fire in their eyes that you’ve never seen in another human being before.

Breath work is a safe and effective way of helping your child navigate and work through uncomfortable emotions like anger, frustration, and sadness — so before we start, pause for a second and take a deep breath. Ahh, don’t you feel better already?

Disclaimer: This article should not be used to diagnose, treat, or offer medical advice in any way. It’s just for fun, so breathe easy!

1. Belly Breathing

If you ask your little one to take a deep breath, chances are that they’ll open their mouth as wide as a whale, inhale, and let their shoulders rise up faster than two loaves of bread in the oven. As strange as it may sound, the foundation of deep breathing stems from breathing “into” the stomach. Here’s an exercise to help your child grasp this concept:

Belly Breathing:

  1. 1.

    Have your child place their hands over their stomach; right over their belly button is ideal.

  2. 2.

    Ask them to inhale slowly through their nose and count up to three as they do.

  3. 3.

    As they breathe in, tell them to inhale so that their stomach rises, not their chest.

  4. 4.

    Have them exhale through their mouth once they finish counting.

Follow along with a super fun song with our friends on Sesame Street!

2. Smell the Flower, Blow Out the Birthday Candle

This breathing exercise is the child-soothing equivalent of Mr. Miyagi’s “wax on, wax off” technique (shoutout to all my ‘80s babies). I learned this one back when I worked at a daycare from a coworker I used to jokingly (but also super-seriously) refer to as the “Child Whisperer.”

Smell the Flower, Blow Out the Birthday Candle:

  1. 1.

    Have your child close their eyes and visualize their favorite flower.

  2. 2.

    Ask them to inhale deeply through their nose as if they were smelling the imaginary flower.

  3. 3.

    Have them visualize a birthday cake in front of them with a lit candle on top.

  4. 4.

    Ask them to exhale deeply through their mouth as if they were blowing out the candle on the cake.

  5. 5.

    Repeat as necessary.

Follow along with our pals at Momentous Institute!

3. Dragon’s Breath

Don’t worry; this fun and imaginative breathing exercise doesn’t require guarding castles, fire-breathing, or eating any ghost peppers. It will, however, require some serious face making!

Dragon’s Breath:

  1. 1.

    Ask your child to inhale through their nose as deeply as possible.

  2. 2.

    When they are ready to exhale, tell them to open their eyes and mouth as wide as possible when they breathe out.

  3. 3.

    For dramatic effect, ask them to stick out their tongue and pretend their hands are dragon claws!

Here’s this exercise in action by Yo Re Mi!

4. Bumblebee Breathing

The yogic technique bhramari pranayama (more affectionately known as “bumblebee breathing”) introduces the extra element of sound to the calm and relaxation that accompanies deep breathing. Shhh, if you listen closely, you’ll hear your child buzzing their way to nirvana.

Bumblebee Breathing

  1. 1.

    Sitting or standing, have your little one close their eyes and inhale deeply through their nose while counting up to four in their head.

  2. 2.

    As they prepare to exhale, tell them to cover their ears, blocking out all other sounds.

  3. 3.

    As they exhale, have them hum quietly to themselves, effectively becoming little buzzing bees.

Hum along with this demonstration from Funda!

5. Breathing Buddy

Trying new things is always more fun with a friend, which is why this exercise is perfect if your child wants some company as they attempt deep breathing for the first time. For this one, you’ll need the help of your little one’s favorite stuffed animal!

Breathing Buddy

  1. 1.

    Ask your child to lie down on a flat surface and place their favorite stuffed animal on their stomach.

  2. 2.

    Ask them to inhale through their nose while they count up to three.

  3. 3.

    Once they finish their count, they should exhale through their mouth.

  4. 4.

    Tell them that to pay attention to their stuffed animal friend as it rises and falls while they breathe in and out.

Try the breathing buddy with our buddies over at Yo Re Mi!