For an adult, dealing with anxiety is not an easy task, much less for a child. Parents especially can sometimes feel overwhelmed as they reach a point where they believe that nothing is working as their attempts to calm their child are in vain.
When desperation strikes, it is important for parents to put themselves in the child’s shoes, which does not mean that they have to tolerate disruptive behaviors but they need to understand that the child does not act impulsively because he is disobedient or likes to be contrary, but because he cannot control his anxiety. In these cases, having some breathing techniques and games to help the child relieve anxiety and impulsivity can also be of great help.
Breathing techniques are based, as their name indicates, on the conscious control of breathing, which has an enormous impact on the child’s metabolism and psyche. When you learn to breathe deeply and regularly, your heart rate and blood pressure decrease, while you experience a sense of calm, so anxiety gradually disappears.
3 simple techniques to help a child control their anxiety
1. To blow bubbles
Most kids love to blow bubbles, so it shouldn’t be hard to get your child motivated with this technique. It is a very simple game that improves your lung capacity, helps you have greater control over your breathing and allows you to relax and control anxiety as it exerts an effect very similar to that obtained with the diaphragmatic breathing technique.
You will need a container of soap bubbles and a bubble wand and solution, which you can find at any toy store. To apply this technique, simply place a little of this solution in the container and ask the child to insert the wand, dip it in the solution, take it out and gently blow towards it to form bubbles. You can challenge him to form larger and larger bubbles as this way he will concentrate more on the activity and its relaxing effect will be greater.
2. I am a balloon!
It is a very effective breathing technique for reducing anxiety symptoms and promoting relaxation. In addition, it is very easy to apply so that the child can put it into practice at any time, the same at home, in the supermarket or even at school. Ask your child to imagine that it is like a balloon that slowly inflates and deflates.
In fact, you can ask him to look at his abdomen while applying the technique to see how it increases and decreases in volume, just like a balloon. The key is for the little one to exhale and inhale slowly and deeply so that he relaxes as his breathing regulates. To make the technique more fun, you can ask him to open and raise his arms each time he breathes in and lower them as he breathes out.
3. The Wolf of the Three Little Pigs
What child does not know the story of the three little pigs? It is one of the most popular children’s stories, so it is likely that your child is already positively predisposed. The technique is very simple because it is simply about dramatizing the scene in which the wolf tries to knock down the pigs’ house, but this time with different objects from the house. Ideally, start with heavier objects like a notebook and gradually reduce the weight, for example, with a ball, then a pencil, and finally something light like a pen. It is a very fun technique that promotes a sense of calm and well-being in the child, reducing the degree of anxiety and stress.