Mindful Breathing Activities to Calm Little Goblin Minds
Beware the goblins and monsters tucked away behind your well-behaved child’s sparkling eyes. Halloween is here and with it comes overactive imaginations, make-believe, sensory overload, and candy–candy everywhere!
It’s hard not to get swept away into the ghostly spirit and even harder to calm down the tender-hearted as sugar pumps through their veins. Have no fear, mindful breath practices are here to slow down the sugar-fueled zombies.
The stores are filled with candy and little minds prepare for their big costume reveal. We all feel the urge to let loose and give over to the excitement of the season. Halloween is a time to put on a new mask and get caught up in the fun, but how do you calm those hungry eyes down when it all becomes too overwhelming?
Calm the Mind with Breathwork
Deep breathing can be used as a coping mechanism. Incorporating breathing practices with the theme of the season will address their sensory needs and help guide them to a more regulated state.
Addressing your child’s specific needs
- Sensory overload
- Overactive imagination
- High Anxiety
Can help you move them into a more mindful state with these deep breathing exercises.
One of the great things about deep breathing exercises is that it teaches kids how to feel into their bodies. When they can better understand how their bodies react to stimulation they will respond in a more self-reflective way. With practice, deep breathing exercises will teach them to be more mindful in situations that previously caused an outburst.
Practicing deep breathing can be a powerful tool for both children and parents alike.
Breathing tools anchor your body into the present moment, helping you to be more aware of feelings and sensations. Once you feel fully aware inside your body, it’s easier to approach the external world with a more mindful attitude – Making it a powerful way to reset your day, your nervous system, and your attitude.
Simple Mindful Breathing
In as little as 3-minutes, you can practice these breathing techniques with your little vampire. Invite these practices into the day and see how ghostly fun they can be.
Look for opportunities to invite in breathwork:
- Present it as a game
- Get all the kids involved
- If you see a prince/princess alone or sad, invite them to play
- If your wizard has wild eyes invite them to participate too
- All can be done on their own, or as a group
- It’s fun for witches from 2-876 years old
And remember, it’s okay to indulge. Have a sweet, get dressed up, and go to that party. But never leave home without your spell book of mindful practices to keep the spooky world around you in control.
Deep Pumpkin Breathing
- Find yourself a pumpkin and place a finger (or a wand) in one of the natural grooves.
- Glide your finger up towards the stem as you take a deep breath in.
- Hold for a moment as you move your finger to the next groove.
- Trace down the next groove while slowly exhaling.
- Hold again at the bottom as you move to the next groove.
- Continue working your way all away around the pumpkin.
- Inhale up one groove, and exhale down the next.
You get to determine the rate you breathe. It can be done with a carved pumpkin too!
Using a pumpkin or even a picture of a pumpkin can work. The small grooves make this an easy-to-follow practice and it can be done with any size pumpkin. For a more grounding practice grab a small pumpkin so little hands can hold them and feel the weight.
Alternatively, you can deepen this practice by placing the small and light pumpkin on their belly as they lay flat.
- Let them feel the pressure of the pumpkin and the way their breath and body move underneath it.
- Balancing the pumpkin with their hands they can continue with the 4-count breathing (in for 4, out for 4) as they focus on the rise and fall of the pumpkin.
- Continue in this manner for 5-7 rounds to ease the mind and feel grounding in the body.
A great exercise for anyone who needs a moment of calm and a personal favorite for alien brains who have been exiled into time out.
Candy Corn Breathing
No candy corn is needed to perform this one! But if you happen to like this classic treat the triangle shape is a great visual to follow.
- Visualize candy corn in your mind, or even a picture will do.
- Notice the triangle shape and place your finger at the bottom right corner.
- As you inhale to the count of 4, glide your finger up the long side of the candy corn.
- Pause for a moment at the top as your finger movers around the top of the candy.
- Exhale to the count of 4 as your finger glides down the opposite side.
- At the bottom, your finger will glide back to the starting point as you hold empty air for a 4 count.
- Repeat this triangle breathing pattern for 5-7 rounds.
A great way to calm the mind is coloring. Consider printing out an image of candy corn for a coloring activity either before or after the breathing.
This exercise helps your astronaut focus on the moment and lowers anxiety.
This is similar to Candy Corn breathing but the long hold is on the inhale instead of the exhale. It’s also a great way to add sound to your breath. When sound is added on the exhale it helps you to push out more air. And the more air you push out the more room you have to bring in fresh air, allowing it to travel deeply into your body.
- Print out a picture of a ghost like the one above.
- Place a finger at the bottom point.
- As you inhale to the count of 4 your finger travels up the right side of the ghoul.
- Hold your breath in for a 4 count as your finger moves over the ghost’s head.
- Open your mouth and exhale for a 4 to 6 count as you make a spooky ghostly sound.
- Pause for a moment at the bottom of your empty lungs.
- Repeat 5-7 times, or as many rounds as your little superhero can sit still.
This is a fun activity you can do as a group. Either tracing the image or being led. The kids will want to slow down and breathe deep so they can have a nice long spooky sound. You could add movement by having them find something (or someone) to focus on as they inhale in deep, hold still, and move towards their focal point as they exhale in sound.
Not only does this help center their nervous system it also puts a group of kids into a similar breathing space, so everyone will be more centered as the day progresses.
Another alternative to spooky breathing is Dragon Breath. Same concept, but on the exhale have them stick their tongues out as they try to torch the room around them with their breath. This activates the back of the throat which connects to the vagus nerve and sends an automatic message to the brain that both soothes the nervous system and your little dragon too.
Mindful breathing practices like these help to develop better attention and focus. They are so much fun to do around the house or in a classroom. As your cowboys and cowgirls learn to manage their emotional well-being, breathing exercises are something they can use for a lifetime. This Halloween remember…
Trick or Treat and don’t forget to breathe deep!