A catchphrase that you often hear parents talking about when their child enters into counseling is coping skills! Healthy coping skills are the tools that you pull out of your back pocket when an overwhelming moment hits.

One of my favorite skills to teach is deep breathing or diaphragmatic breathing. It is breathing from the diaphragm.

Throughout the day, most of us don’t pay attention to our breathing. However, when we get dysregulated our breathing pattern changes. We typically take short inhalations and exhalations through our nose. When your body is stressed our breathing patterns change, our heart rate increases and our blood pressure rises.


So why do we want to practice deep breathing skills? Lot’s of positive changes can happen when we are mindful with our breathing.

  • Slows heart rate
  • Decreases blood pressure
  • Relaxes the body and mind


One of my favorite ways to teach breathing skills is with bubbles. And when you are teaching a skill to a child the fun factor is always important! Bubbles are also great because you are teaching the child to breath really slow on their exhale, if you blow out to fast the bubble will pop. This gives them a visual reminder of how to follow through.

Deep breath in through your nose 1, 2, 3. Hold 1, 2, 3. Exhale slowly through your mouth, during this process you are blowing your bubbles. Be careful when you exhale you don’t want your bubble to pop!


A few things should be kept in mind when teaching your child to use breathing as a calm-down strategy.

  • Practice skills when your child is calm & happy.
  • Practice often so that it is familiar and ready to go when it is needed.
  • Learn to identify your child’s triggers so that you can propose breathing exercises before things get out of hand. It’s always easier to deal with strong emotions before they get too overwhelming.
  • Make it fun and have a visual!


Using feathers is an awesome way to teach your child to breathe.

  • Collect different feathers. Feathers come in many colors and sizes so this can also be a fun activity for your child.
  • Ask your child to choose one feather and hold it in her hand.
  • Ask her to take in a deep breath. To help her learn about deep breathing, ask her to put her hand on her abdomen and tell her that when she breathes in, her breath will push her hand upwards. Tell her to inhale for a count of four, then hold her breath for a count of four.
  • Ask her to exhale slowly through the nose. Tell her that the feather should flutter as she breathes out.
  • Repeat the exercise for five to 10 minutes or until your child feels relaxed.
  • An alternative way to use feathers is to have your child pick a feather and place in on a flat surface (for example, a table). When she breathes out, the feather should move across the table.


Flowers are a great way to teach kids about breathing and are an easy way to help your child practice regularly because they’re easily available.

  • Ask your child to choose a flower.
  • Tell him to breathe in through his nose for a count of four and smell the flowers, then hold his breath for a count of four.
  • Ask him to breathe out through the mouth.
  • Repeat the exercise for five to 10 minutes or until your child feels relaxed.
  • You can also tell your child to visualize an imaginary flower (“Imagine smelling your favorite flower”).


I hope you find these breathing exercises fun and helpful! Happy breathing!

Below is a link for a great kids video on deep breathing. Check it out!


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