Getting Kids to Breathe

Updated: Mar 5, 2019



It’s official.  BeetleDoo’s Rainbow Breath Singalong is the third most requested video in our house this week, right after PJ Masks and Peppa Pig.  I wish it was number one or even number two, because I really like Peppa, but man, do I wish my 3-year-old had never discovered Owlette and her gang.

My kids love this 3-minute video that helps them slow down their breathing and gradually relax their bodies as they visualize inhaling and exhaling each color of the rainbow.

My kids love this 3-minute video that helps them slow down their breathing and gradually relax their bodies as they visualize inhaling and exhaling each color of the rainbow.  In fact, I recently caught my youngest daughter starting a playgroup with some stuffed animals by teaching them slow breathing and to be honest, it kind of amazed me. I’ve been trying to teach my kids breathing techniques since they were little and my oldest one has been especially resistant to the whole endeavor (even though she’s a fan of yoga).   So why are BeetleDoo’s songs and videos so effective when a trained psychologist couldn’t be? 


First, it’s important to know, hyper kids don’t want to relax.  Rule number one when you’re trying to calm down a wiggly kid: Don’t tell the wiggly kid you’re trying to calm her down.

First, it’s important to know, hyper kids don’t want to relax.  Rule number one when you’re trying to calm down a wiggly kid: Don’t tell the wiggly kid you’re trying to calm her down.  I must have forgotten this rule when I tried to teach my kids breathing and mindfulness techniques and unfortunately, too many relaxation videos do as well.    The phrase, “It’s time to relax” is like caffeinated kryptonite to a hyper kid… a repellant that will only amp him up even more. Instead, Rainbow Breath Singalong and Whale Breath Singalong lure kids into learning relaxation techniques with a fun, screen-based activity.  Kids won’t anticipate being pulled out of his or her activated state and those feelings of resistance won't stand a chance. They might not go from wild to calm the first time they see the one of the videos, but they’re learning breathing techniques to calm them down. In the future, they even might pull those techniques out of their toolboxes when you least expect it.


Slowed, paced breathing is the most effective tool that we have for telling several other bodily functions that it’s time to kick the relaxation (or even sleep) process into gear. Slower breathing lowers heart rate, improves digestion, and leads to a general sense of well-being and safety in the brain.

Now that you’ve got their attention, why slowed breathing?  Slowed, paced breathing is the most effective tool that we have for telling several other bodily functions that it’s time to kick the relaxation (or even sleep) process into gear. Slower breathing lowers heart rate, improves digestion, and leads to a general sense of well-being and safety in the brain.

 This is tied in with our body’s “fight or flight” response back from our early human days.  Even though we’ve evolved from this hunt or be hunted way of life our brains have not.  If we’re breathing slowly, our body assumes we’re not on the run, hunting or being hunted.  And therefore, it must be okay to relax and maybe even curl up and get some rest until the next chase.    


Even if you’re not into using screens for your kids, Rainbow Breath Song and Whale Breath Song  work great without the videos. Kids will love to visualize inhaling and exhaling the colors of the rainbow or picturing a themselves as a whale as their tummy fills up with air.  Just singing these songs that have been paired with images of breathing and relaxation might be enough to ward off a little of the late afternoon witching hour.

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