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  • Lisa Roberts

Subscriber Q&A

I recently received the following question from a subscriber and thought it may be helpful to others if I responded via this blog. If you have a question regarding children's yoga or mindfulness, please feel free to email me. I am more than happy to help, if I am able to.

Q. If you are going to do the breathing with your children, in a moment of crisis, in a moment when they are in the middle of crying because of a vaccine, accident, or something like that, how should these breathing be done? Should several be done at one time? Or should you only focus on one? How many repetitions of each are appropriate? Or for how many minutes?

A. The most critical and beneficial aspect of helping children (or people of any age!) develop self-regulation skills is to not wait for a crisis to explore tools or introduce new ideas. During moments of crisis or escalation, it is far more helpful to gently remind a child of tools they already have in their toolbox and are familiar with. It may be helpful to do the breathing or mindfulness technique with them as one gently guides the child’s attention away from the crisis and to their own powerful ability to respond positively.

Finding the right technique for the right circumstance or moment can also be tricky if one waits until the moment hits. Preparing kids by stocking their toolboxes with a variety techniques is the best way to prepare them for life’s ups and downs. Allowing kids to explore different mindfulness techniques, encouraging them to notice how they feel during and after practice, as well as recognizing when these techniques may apply to their lives, guide children build toolboxes that meet their unique needs and personality. This also empowers children to access valuable skills when they need them the most.

Over 160 kid-friendly mindfulness and breathing techniques are presented in companion books Breathe, Chill and Breathe, Chill 2 – each book is conveniently organized to help you and your child explore techniques that target specific outcomes: Calm, focus, stress busting, energy regulation, chilling out, plus games to connect with others and develop social skills.  

IF one is in a situation and a child is distressed, introducing multiple breathing tools at once will, typically, only serve to overwhelm and/or frustrate the child. It’s best to keep it simple and encourage easy inhales and relaxing exhales, practicing with the child while modeling a calm tone and demeanor. I would then use this moment as a lesson for myself as the teacher or adult in this child’s life to find time to play and explore mindfulness techniques that resonate with the child (and that they enjoy!) and implement them into daily life.

I feel in yoga --and in life—there are no right or wrong techniques, or restrictive parameters such as practice length or number of repetitions. One must observe what is happening in the moment and respond appropriately. I recommend working with the child until they feel calm and safe, and stopping any technique immediately if the child shows signs of becoming more distressed.

To help your child discover mindfulness techniques that work them I recommend the following books that together provide over 160 kid-friendly mindfulness practices:

Happy reading, playing, exploring!

Lisa Roberts


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