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The power of breath: Teach children to breathe on purpose and calm big emotions

A mother and daughter practicing mindful breathing together.

When we are born, we are given our first gift of life. This is the gift of breath.

If we are loved, nurtured, and cared for by connected and emotionally regulated adults, then we can grow to handle life situations as they come our way. This isn’t the case for all humans who enter the world, however, so learning how to be a calm, cool adult is one sure way to help all children become calm, cool kids.

Some days are trickier than others, and lots of life events can be accompanied by big emotions. Learning mindful breathing practices is one way to help ourselves become regulated and integrated so that we can coregulate with the children in our homes, classrooms, or communities. This is an essential skill to acquire as adults, and it is so important to teach to our children.

When we pay attention to our breathing, this helps to build our self-awareness skills. Building self-awareness then becomes essential as we build effective self-management and coping skills. When life throws us a curveball or two, these skills become more important than ever.

Helping children handle big emotions—and grow to be integrated and regulated adults—is our number-one job as parents and educators. Mindful practices, beginning with intentional breathing, have long been researched by psychologists and neuroscientists as effective ways to help regulate the central nervous system when we’re in stress mode.

I hope you’ll take a moment to check out these free worksheets on developing your child’s self-awareness and self-management skills through purposeful breathing. Children in early elementary grades will have a great time learning to become more tuned in to their emotions and begin a lifelong practice of mindfulness.

Free Mindful Breathing Worksheets

Help kids practice mindful breathing

Some Days I Breathe on Purpose

“Some Days I Breathe on Purpose” follows Maysie as she learns to become more calm, steady, and self-aware by breathing on purpose. In this delightful rhyming story, kids can discover how to use their own mindful breath to help them stay centered, regulated, and ready to handle any emotion that comes their way.

Bonus material for educators, parents, and caregivers includes simple mindful breathing exercises and step-by-step mindfulness techniques.

Order your copy here.

Kellie Doyle Bailey, MA, CCC-SLP, MMT/SELI, is the proud mother of Hannah and Doyle Bailey, who together were her best lid-flipping life teachers. She is a veteran speech language pathologist of 30 years, certified mindfulness educator, and social emotional learning instructor. She is the founder of Calm Cool Kids Educate and works in Maine helping educators, students, and families learn about mindfulness strategies to stay calm and cool. Kellie teaches Mindfulness in Education at the University of Maine in Farmington and lives on the coast of Maine with her husband, Bruce, a lifelong educator.

Learn more about Kellie Doyle Bailey’s educational products, including upcoming live seminars.

Hannah Bailey, BA, recently graduated from the University of Maine in Orono with a teaching certification in art education. She works with children with diverse needs and implements mindful practices daily to assist with keeping her kids calm and cool.

Learn more about Hannah Bailey’s educational products, including upcoming live seminars.

About the publisher

For more than 40 years, nonprofit organization PESI, Inc., has provided cutting-edge continuing education to professionals across the nation. Working alongside the world’s leading experts, PESI educates and instructs the general public, public organizations, private industry, students, and professionals in acquiring, developing, and enhancing their knowledge and skills.