I conducted 3 after school classes on ‘Focusing on breathing’ at Robert C. Parker School for 2 boys and 1 girl in March/April 2014 (1) (2). The way the classes were done is explained at (3).The feedback form the children and parents is presented below.
- “I think breathing practice is beneficial for my daughter in managing her impulses. She seems to enjoy the breathing practice in your class. When I prompt her to practice, though, she sometimes insists that she does not want or need to do it. I am working on coaxing her to do the breathing practice with me. I would like to make it a regular practice for both of us. I think it would be good to do in the mornings and evenings, and then hopefully the practice will help her managing through the day as well”. My response to this mom is at (4).
- “My son tends to do his breathing while he’s trying to fall asleep. I’ve observed him utilizing it over the past week, during an anxiety provoking situation. The mode he tends to use is deep breathing while counting in his head.”
What times did they practice?: Most common were bedtime and morning. But some practiced at breakfast and evening also.
What modes did they practice?: Collectively – Folding mode, Tip mode, Segment mode and Counting mode.
Why did they practice?: Each of them gave different reasons.
- Felt tired in the morning, practiced and felt awake
- I got up before my mom and she didn’t wake me up as she was doing before
- When I got home from school, I was mad and I did the breathing.
- Middle of the day – helped me not watch TV
- When I had a headache I did the breathing and my headache go away.
- When I was mad with my friend
How did the breathing help?
- Helped me get to sleep, wake up and eat breakfast
- When my dog got crazy, I did the breathing and my dog calmed down! (watching me doing the breathing)
- Helped me go to sleep
- It calmed me down when I was mad
- When I was hyper, I would do the breathing and it calms me down
I like the breathing because
- It is fun and relaxing
- It is good for me. My mom wants me to teach her. I will teach her when I learn all.
(1) How Can I Focus On Breathing?
(2) Robert C. Parker School
(3) How were the classes done?: In the first class, they were shown and practiced the ‘Folding mode’, ‘Tip mode’ and ‘Counting mode’. In the second class, we reviewed the previous modes and they were shown’ ‘Staring mode’ and ‘911’ mode’. In the third class, they were suggested how they could use the techniques at bedtime, on waking up and any other times they needed. In every class, they filled out a feedback form with the questions (a) When did I practice? (b) What mode did I practice? (c) Why did I practice? (d) How did the breathing help?
(4) My response to the girl’s mom: (a) It is better for her long term success not to coax her. Let the practice grow organically over some months, so that it becomes a part of her coping skills to help her all her life. (b) Our role is to encourage her own practice without making her feel like she is doing a chore. She is basically right that she would practice when she needed it. The exceptional situations where we should proactively suggest to practice are at bedtime which most children love to do anyway, when we see them upset, hyperactive, angry etc. (c) When she is in a good mood and you feel it is the right time, you can try practicing along with her, allowing her to practice her favorite mode and you can practice your own choice mode.
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