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  • Writer's pictureCAFF Team

A PARENT'S GUIDE TO PROPER BREATHING

Updated: Apr 27, 2023

Guest Post by Daniel Drew, Orofacial Myofunctional Therapist, Speech Language Pathologist, and Certified Buteyko Breathing Instructor


Breathing is an essential part of life, and most of us take it for granted. As parents, it is important to teach our children the importance of nasal breathing and the benefits it can have on our overall health and well-being.


proper breathing for children

In this blog post, we will explore some simple breathing exercises that parents can incorporate with their children to promote nasal breathing.


Why Nasal Breathing is Important


Nasal breathing is the natural and preferred way of breathing. When we breathe through our nose, the air is filtered, humidified, and warmed before it reaches our lungs. This process helps to protect our lungs from harmful particles and helps to prevent respiratory infections. Nasal breathing also stimulates the production of nitric oxide, which helps to dilate blood vessels, increase oxygen uptake, and improve lung function.


On the other hand, mouth breathing can have a negative impact on your child's health. Mouth breathing can lead to dry mouth, bad breath, and snoring. It can also cause sleep apnea, which can lead to sleep deprivation and other health issues. We don’t get the benefits of nitric oxide when we breathe through our mouths.


Breathing Exercises for Toddlers and Children


One way to help your child develop good nasal breathing habits is through breathing exercises. Here are four you can try with your child:


Balloon Breath

The balloon breath is a simple and fun exercise that can help children learn how to breathe deeply through their noses and release tension. Here's how to do it:


  1. Have your child sit comfortably with their back straight.

  2. Ask them to inhale deeply through their nose, imagining that they are filling up a balloon in their belly.

  3. Hold the breath for a few seconds, and then exhale slowly through their nose, imagining that they are deflating the balloon.

  4. Repeat this exercise for a few minutes, encouraging your child to take slow, deep breaths.


Lion's Breath

The lion's breath is a breathing exercise that can help children release tension and stress. Here's how to do it:


  1. Have your child sit comfortably with their back straight.

  2. Ask them to inhale deeply through their nose, filling up their lungs with air.

  3. Then, ask them to exhale forcefully through their mouth while sticking out their tongue and making a "roar" sound, like a lion.

  4. Repeat this exercise for a few minutes, encouraging your child to let go of any tension or stress they may be holding onto.


Belly Breathing

Belly breathing is a simple exercise that can help children learn how to breathe deeply and expand their diaphragm. Here's how to do it:


  1. Have your child lie down on their back with their hands on their belly.

  2. Ask them to take a deep breath through their nose, feeling their belly rise and their hands move with the breath.

  3. Then, ask them to exhale slowly through their nose, feeling their belly fall and their hands move back down.

  4. Repeat this exercise for a few minutes, encouraging your child to focus on their breath and the movement of their belly.


Straw/Bubble Blowing

Blowing into a straw or blowing bubbles are excellent exercises to promote strong breathing muscles and are very stimulating and reinforcing for young children. These breathing exercises help to promote a longer exhale (stronger diaphragm) and better breath control:


  1. Model straw blowing or bubble blowing for your child. Show them what your lip muscles do as you practice. See if they can match your lip muscle movement.

  2. You can blow cotton balls across the table or blow bubbles wherever your child likes to play.

  3. Teach your child to inhale through their nose and blow out through their mouth. Continue to model nasal inhalation and blow slowly through the straw or into the bubble wand.

  4. Repeat this exercise for a few minutes, encouraging nasal inhaling, and longer exhales for blowing.



Incorporating Breathing Exercises into Daily Life


Incorporating breathing exercises into daily life can be a great way to help children learn how to breathe through their noses and promote overall health and well-being. Here are some ways you can incorporate breathing exercises into your child's daily routine:


  • Practice breathing exercises before bedtime to help your child relax and fall asleep more easily.

  • Incorporate breathing exercises into your child's morning routine to help them start the day off on a calm and focused note.

  • Use breathing exercises as a way to manage stress and anxiety during the day, such as before a test or a challenging situation.


Teaching your child how to breathe through their nose is a simple yet powerful way to promote their overall health and well-being. By incorporating breathing exercises into your daily routine, you can help your child develop healthy breathing habits and reduce the risk of respiratory issues down the road. So take a deep breath and give it a try!


Airway First podcast with guest Daniel Drew

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