There are specific breathing methods that will help children calm down, self reflect, and focus. It can be difficult to force a young child to focus on a specific task, especially when school is virtual. They are surrounded by distractions, and no longer have the option to separate school from home life. With certain breathing strategies, children can become better students and integrate themselves into their classes.
One breathing technique to learn is called diaphragm breathing, also known as belly breathes. Sit or lay down, and then place one hand on the chest and one hand on the belly. This allows the child to feel the breath move from the lungs to the diaphragm and focus on this movement. It takes the mind away from daily distractions and stressful school work, and trains the child to focus on one specific goal at a time. Be sure to time the individual, allowing them two or more minutes to close their eyes and feel their breathing. The mind will eventually wander, and become more at ease.
Another strategy to teach a child to focus on a specific word or phrase. They may keep their hand on their belly to become more aware of their breathing, and either sit or lay down. Specific words to achieve pure physical calmness is peace, happiness, family, and love. If a child loves fire trucks, then have them think of the work firetruck. For longer meditation sessions, try using a phrase or a few phrases to remember. For instance, “may my family have happiness”, “allow me to be calm”, or “I love myself”. Preaching specific phrases instead of one word will allow the child to work to achieve what they are saying. Daily apparitions become actions. Another option is to inhale a specific word (peace, calm), and exhale another word (anxiety, hate). It depends on what the child will most likely and happily focus on.
To further connect with the body, a child may count their breaths. They can inhale for five seconds, hold for five, and then exhale for five. This requires a certain level of focus on one specific task, which is effective for teaching a child discipline. Continue this breathing method for five minutes or more, and then calmly return to reality while exhaling. If the child has difficulty focusing on their breathing, then introduce breathing gifs or calming imagery. Breathing gifs are moving imagery that a child can concentrate on and mirror. Serene sounds will create a similar effect, and can be played aloud or in headphones. Counting breathes promotes deep breathing and a focus on the mind or body relationship.