Everyone is born with the intrinsic knowledge to breathe, but not everyone knows how to breathe properly. Some children struggle to breathe through the nose, and instead breathe through the mouth. Open-mouth breathing lets in too much dry, unfiltered air that irritates the airways. Some open-mouth breathers also use the chest muscles, instead of the diaphragm, to breathe. Poor breathers may complain of sore throats, fatigue and muscle aches, in addition to feeling out of breath. Poor breathing can affect anyone, but it's especially hard on children with asthma. Through a daily exercise, a child learns to retrain his body to breathe from the diaphragm and through the nose.
Instruct the child to place her hands atop her head.
Tell the child to close his mouth and breathe in through the nose, as if he was taking a light whiff of something that smells good.
Instruct the child to relax and breathe out through the nose, pausing at the end as she exhales.
Ask the child to breathe in again through the nose and out through the nose until he develops a rhythm. If he breathes in softer or harder than he breathes out, correct him; demonstrate how you breathe through the nose.
Have the child bring her arms down to her side. Instruct her to continue breathing this way, letting the air come from the diaphragm, not the chest muscles. If she has problems, ask the child to place her hands atop her head and try getting into a breathing rhythm again.
Last updated March 21 2017
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