Breathing is a Powerful Parenting Tool!

We take breathing for granted; it is something we just do every day!  But family life can be very busy and we might feel that we don’t have time to stop and take a break to meditate or re-energise. The good news though is that it doesn’t have to take more than a minute or even a few seconds to reboot, to boost yourself, to rescue yourself from a ‘panicked or stressful’ moment or avoid doing or saying something you will regret later on.There are huge benefits to thinking about and controlling our breathing:

  • It slows us down and makes us feeling calmer.
  • It grounds us to the here and now and makes us respond differently to the situation ahead i.e. the morning routine or homework etc.
  • Helps with panic attacks: by slowing our heart down to a healthy level we can reduce anxiety.
  • Defuses anger and negative emotions: when we check in with ourselves and think about how we feel we are more likely to control the feelings and respond differently than we might have done otherwise. We can be proud later on and know we are a positive role model for our kids to follow!
  • De-stressing: we might have a lot on, but when we allow ourselves to stop for a while and only think about breathing we start to slow down, feel calm and less stressed!
  • Makes us enjoy life around us: by feeling more connected to the here and now we are more likely to notice and enjoy life when we allow ourselves this pause. Example; when we are with our family we might start appreciating the small but important moments, words and smiles.
  • Lowers blood pressure

Here’s how it works:

  • Stand or sit comfortably – relaxed and straight; like somebody has just taken your head and pulled it up. Now take a deep breath and relax into a comfortable position. Relax arms, hands, feet, shoulder, jaw, eyes etc.
  • Now just think of your breathing – nothing else; the cold air coming in through your nose and the warm air coming out through your mouth or nose. Take a BIG DEEP breath and think about how it comes down into your belly – a belly breath  – and travels back up and out.
  • Check in with yourself: how are you feeling right now,  BREATHE, how do you want to feel right now, BREATHE, ‘I feel stressed’, BREATHE, ‘I want to be calm’, BREATHE
  • In between the breaths try to create some positive self-talk to support your situation and what you are experiencing right now or about to do: I can deal with my children, they will not stay like this for ever – I am going to listen – I am an OK parent, that is good enough – I love my child – we had such a lovely time yesterday etc.

If thoughts pop into your mind other than breathing or positive self-talk (chores task, worries, dinner etc.) that is OK, it’s normal for the mind to wander, just notice this and say to yourself: HmmmSTOPthink of your breathing and then continue with positive self-talk and feelings.

When can I use this skill?

  • Before a situation that is normally hard/stressful or frustrating – take a booster minute to feel ready and positive
  • Rescue breath: In the middle of a conflict i.e. baby crying; stand comfortably and relaxed and just think about your breathing and positive self-talk while gently rocking the baby.
  • Rescue breath: child throwing a tantrum, teen nagging etc.
  • Before your morning routine so you feel  calm and ready for the morning ahead
  • Going to work
  • Going to sleep

Good Luck!

From the ParentingSuccess Team

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