Focusing on the breath is an intrinsic part of most meditative practices. But for many kids, and some adults, the instruction ”focus on your breath” is vague and confusing.
Here are several creative ways to teach kids how to focus on their breath. By implementing any or all of these ways your child will become more connected to their breath and attuned to their body. This will result better meditation sessions and a more peaceful, calm child.
1. Belly breaths
Breathing is so automatic, it’s often overlooked. And since kids can’t really see their breath, unless they are breathing out on a very cold day, it’s invisible to them. Taking belly breaths is an easy way to get kids doing relaxing, diaphramic breathing, while also showing them the way their breath moves in their body.
To begin, have your child lay on their bed or the floor. Place a favorite stuffed animal or toy on their tummy. Invite them to take a big breath in through their nose. Watch their belly and their stuffed animal rise. Hold that breath for just a second. Then, blow the air out their mouth, and watch their belly go flat again. Repeat this as many times as they would like.
2. Rainbow Breaths
Rainbow breaths uses the same technique as belly breaths, diaphramic breathing. But in rainbow breaths your child imagines breathing in the color of a rainbow with each inhale. If your child is comfortable, have them close their eyes.
Invite them to breathe in, through their nose, a favorite color from the rainbow. Describe how breathing in that color feels cool going in their nostrils. Have them imagine that color, like a sparkling mist, or smoky air, fills their body. Hold that color in for just a minute. As they exhale, have them imagine that color going down through their body. Down their neck, into their chest, to their tummy, down their legs, and out their toes, and back out into the air. Have them repeat these rainbow breaths with the same color, or different colors, as they meditate.
Doing a rainbow meditation, imagining breathing in every color of the rainbow (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet) is a wonderful way for kids to get calm and relaxed, wherever they are.
3. Candle Breaths
Have your child imagine a birthday cake in front of them. It’s their favorite flavor with fluffy frosting and lots of colored sprinkles. Yummy! This cake is lit with colorful candles. But before your child blows them out, they need to use their breath to control the flame. Invite them to take a deep breath in through their nose. As they inhale, they smell the sweet, delicious cake. They hold that sweet breath for a minute, then blow the breath out of their mouth, gently, not blowing out the candles just yet, but with their breath making the candle flames flicker and dance. Now, have them breathe the sweet-cake smell in again. Hold that breath for just a minute and make a wish. Now, exhale, through the mouth, and blow the candles out with a big puff.