Passions & Pursuits

Anti-Stress Breathing for Kids

Each year when kids go back to school, they feel the same shift in energy that adults feel. Their days fill with new classes in new environments, and their minds are occupied with learning new knowledge, establishing new relationships and balancing their busy schedules. It’s important to remember that kids get stressed too.

Through training and practice, Blackberry Wellness Manager Meghan Henley knows first-hand the benefits of practicing meditation, mindfulness and breathing techniques with kids. Even if it isn’t an everyday practice, there’s a huge benefit to kids learning exercises that they can utilize when they begin to feel overwhelmed in any part of their life.

“Cleaning the Pool”
For older elementary school or middle school-aged kids.

Sit comfortably in your desk and place the backs of your hands on your legs with your feet on the floor. Close your eyes and begin to notice where you feel your breath in your body. Is it in your belly? Your chest? The back of your throat? Envision a swimming pool. First in the Summer. The sun is shining down on the crystal blue water. Now, picture it getting cooler outside. Leaves fall into the water and some even sink to the bottom of the pool. Some leaves remain on top of the water floating. Imagine trying to clean the pool now with a net. If we only skim the net on top, we aren’t able to get all of the leaves out of the pool. Let’s work on getting to the bottom of our own breath in the same way. From the bottom of your belly, breathe in and begin to fill up your ribs and chest with air. Moving back down as you breathe out. Exhale from your CHEST to your RIBS to your BELLY. Begin again. Inhale from your BELLY to your RIBS all the way to your CHEST and back down again. This helps us to clear our minds and clean the lungs, just as we would clean a pool.

“Peace Begins With Me”
Great for younger children, Kindergarten and up.

Sit comfortably in your desk and flip your palms up toward the sky. Notice your palms and your fingers. Can you relax your hands? Begin to tap your thumb and your pointer finger together. Now tap your thumb and middle finger together. Next tap your thumb and ring finger together. Now tap your thumb and pinkie together. Begin to create a rhythm. Tap your thumb and pointer together and say, “Peace.” Thumb and middle finger and say, “begins.” Thumb and ring finger and say, “with.” Thumb and pinkie and say, “me.” Keep going very slowly tapping and saying, “Peace begins with me” three times. Now whisper it three times, continuing with your fingers. Now close your eyes while tapping your fingers and just say it in your mind three times or until you are ready to open your eyes again. Notice how you feel now. Can you describe the way you feel?
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