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Mindful Movement for Kids: Find a moment of calm by focusing on the breath

Moving mindfully starts by bringing focus and awareness to the breath, which can help center you in the present moment.

Try it now: Inhale and hold your breath for a second or two; now exhale and release. It feels good, right?

In this video, Merrithew Lead Instructor Trainer Melissa McNamara, who specializes in Pilates for kids, demonstrates a fun and easy breathing exercise that you can use to help settle your kids down.

Using playful cueing imagery, shapes, sizes, balance tricks, and different speeds and positions, Melissa makes this a fun game that you can introduce to your kids at home, outside or on-the-go. Keep this one in your back pocket!

How can mindful breathing help kids?

Mindfulness practices, such as breathing exercises, have been associated with helping people of all ages manage and reduce stress and anxiety, and increase attention, focus and resilience.

STOTT PILATES® and breathing

Developing optimal breathing patterns, where the ribs expand in a three-dimensional motion, can enhance mind-body awareness and efficient muscular recruitment and activity. Breathing is one of the key components of the STOTT PILATES Biomechanical Principles. These principles are the foundation of Merrithew’s contemporary movement system and inform all of our education programs.

Melissa instructing breathing exercises for kids

3 more mindful breathing exercises for kids (and for everyone)

1. Ocean breath

Transport your kids to the beach by getting them to cover their ears with their hands. Instruct them to inhale for four counts, then pause; now exhale for four counts. What can they hear? Does it sound like the ocean or the wind?

2. Counting breaths during transitions or while washing hands

Try getting your kids to count their breaths, maybe when they first wake-up, during transitions between activities, or when they’re washing their hands. How many deep breaths did they take? Can they get to 10, 15, 20?

3. Soft belly exercise

If counting doesn’t work, try something tactile. This exercise connects the mind and body. Get them to put their hands on their belly so they can feel it moving in and out. As they inhale, say ‘soft’ and as they exhale, say ‘belly’. This will ground them in the moment.

What breathing exercises do you practice with your kids? Share them with us @Merrithew.

Watch more
Mindful Movement for Kids: 3 exercises to help your kids release stress, improve focus and mind-body awareness. Try it now >

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