Deep breathing is one of the quickest and best ways to calm the nervous system and help children and yourself feel calm and relaxed.
Buddy Breathing (Age 3+) - Use a small light-weight teddy or favourite toy. Get the child to lay on their back and place the toy on top of their belly buttons. Guild children to breath in and out asking them to watch the object as it moves up and down with their breath.
Finger Breathing (Age 5+) - Spread one hand out like a star and use the index finger on your other hand to trace the outline of your 'star' hand. To do this take a deep breath in as you move to the top of your thumb and take a slow breath out as you move down between your thumb and first finger. Continue moving up and down your fingers until you have taken 5 deep breaths.
Silent Sigh (Age 8+) - This is good for anxiety. Take a deep breath in, then let a silent sigh out as slowly and silently as you can.
Mindful Breathing (Teenager +) - Your eyes maybe open or closed but you may find it easier to maintain your focus if you close your eyes. It can help to set aside a designated time for this exercise, but it can also help to practice it when you're feeling particularly stressed or anxious. Simply focus on your breath - the inhale and the exhale. To begin take a deep breath inhale through your nostrils (3 seconds) hold your breath (2 seconds) and a long exhale through your mouth (4 seconds) and repeat. Or you can simply observe each breath without trying to adjust it; focus on the rise and fall of your chest or the sensation through your nostrils. As you do so, you may find that your mind wanders, that's OK. Just notice this is happening and gently bring your attention back to your breath.