Sometimes we tend to tell our children to calm down without ever giving them explicit directions on how to deal with stress and anxiety. Today’s technique I want to share with you all is a good exercise for kids to experience calmness and reduce anxiety. This technique, called the “Pretzel Breathing Technique,” is a quick 1-minute exercise that teaches kids to settle their bodies and relax in stressful situations.
Steps for the Pretzel Breathing Technique
- First, sit on a chair. Put your arms straight out in front of you, palms facing out.
- Then cross your hands over and interlace your fingers.
- Cross your feet at the ankle and place your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
- As you slowly inhale, bring your hands inward towards your body and place your hands on your chest. Hold this position for 5 seconds.
- As you exhale, bring your hands back out away from your chest. Hold this position for 5 seconds.
- Repeat the movements for one minute, while focusing on your breathing.
- If you get easily distracted or have trouble staying focused, try doing this exercise with your eyes closed.
- To challenge yourself, try this technique standing up!
Repeat the exercise as many times as needed or until your child feels calm and relaxed.
Keep in mind it may take several times for your child to get the hang of it. Be patient with them and have fun!
About Grace Kim:
Grace Kim is a Resident in Counseling providing services at the Woodbridge location. She is a Qualified Mental Health Professional for Children (QMHP-C) and a National Certified Counselor (NCC). Grace has extensive experience in providing outpatient counseling services to children, adolescents, and young adults. She also has sufficient experience working with adult clients with longstanding substance abuse issues. She is an individual who has had her own share of mental health challenges and, with the help of those around her, has been able to overcome obstacles and barriers in her life. To learn more about Grace, visit HERE.