Starfish Breathing: Helping Children With Emotional Regulation

Each of us uses strategies everyday to help manage feelings of worry, frustration, or anxiety. But for children who experience challenges with regulating emotions, it can be helpful to teach them strategies they can use on their own. One of the most effective strategies to help your child manage emotional regulation are deep breathing exercises. They not only help to reduce feelings of anxiousness or stress in a socially appropriate way, but they also promote increased attention and ability to focus in order to learn. 

There are many different ways you can teach your child to do these exercises, but today we will teach you a method called starfish breathing. Starfish breathing uses both tactile and visual feedback, which may help your child grasp the concept quicker.

Starfish Breathing Steps:

Tip: Teach your child this technique in a time where they are not upset. Practice it several times, and talk openly with them about when is a good time to use the technique. This is also a good opportunity to discuss what makes them worried, frustrated, or anxious, and how starfish breathing can help them with emotional regulation.

Step 1: You and your child will put one hand up and make a starfish.

Step 2: Use your child’s other hand to track the perimeter of each finger and follow with their eyes.

Step 3: When their finger is going up, they will take a deep breath in,

Step 4: When their finger is going down, they will let out their breath. 

Practice several times with your child until they are calm. In order to teach starfish breathing to your child, you can watch the video below with them:

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