After we introduced our characters, Austin and Calvin, learned about feelings and anxiety, did our pre-group assessment on individual student worries, and introduced the kids to the worry thermometer, we saw how the worry thermometer worked for Austin and Calvin.  We also started learning the mechanics of "cool breathing" and Calvin's Relaxation Game (Progressive Muscle Relaxation).  Click on the picture below for a free download of my lesson.  You'll see how we started off with all of this good stuff!

This was the lesson we used to reinforce the worry thermometer and introduce
the Cool Breathing and Calvin's Relaxation Game (progressive muscle relaxation).

There is an app called Breathe 2 Relax (Breathe2Relax) that I really liked a lot for teaching deep breathing.  This is not an easy task for our young kiddos.  This app has a visual monitor that you can set for how fast and for how many seconds you want an inhale and an exhale to be.  On top of that it has a visual countdown of how many practice breaths you are going to take.  You can set a soothing song and background as well.

Excellent app for teaching deep breathing to kids

We also did "Breathing Buddies".  I gave each kiddo something (a stuffed animal) to put on on their tummies to watch as their stomach (not their chest) moved up and down with the correct inhalation and exhalation.  The kids really, really liked this.  But if your kids are like mine, we had to set rules for the stuffed animals because they all wanted to play with them.  Click on the video below to see a demonstration of this.

Using a stuffed animal to insure correct technique and to have a little fun!

We also used bubbles, pinwheels and straws to practice deep breathing.  You name it, we tried it.  I had some kids who just couldn't get the technique right (about 2 of them) but most of my others were able to perfect it. These were kindergartners and 1st graders!  I always sent an email to the parents home of what we tried and for them to practice it at home.  This article, by,  linked to below has great directions for fun ways for little ones to practice breathing!  Click on the image to read and find out some great ideas for your group.

Bubbles, pinwheels, crafts and more to reinforce your teaching of deep breathing

We will follow up on another blog with more on our child anxiety group, introducing the concepts of thoughts, both helpful and unhelpful. I hope you get some good ideas from ours and would love for you to tell us about your group!  Please, ask questions, I would be more than happy to share whatever I can.

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