Children have big feelings and often are inadvertently searching for the coping skills to manage these big feelings. Controlled breathing exercises can be extremely beneficial for children to work through their feelings. Visual tools can be extremely effective in helping children practice their breathing.
Our child and adolescent expert, Kirsten Estrella, LCSW, a Psychotherapist at Lukin Center Psychotherapy often suggests pinwheels. They show the difference between fast breathing (makes the pinwheel difficult to move) and slow, strong breathing (makes the pinwheel move faster). This helps children understand that just like the pinwheel, calm breathing can help us move faster through our big feelings.
Pinwheels can be a great way to tangibly see the benefits of controlled breathing... at any age!
Kristen Estrella, LCSW, a Psychotherapist at Lukin Center Psychotherapy, earned her B.A. in Psychology from American University and her Master of Social Work from Boston University. During Kristen's studies, she practiced Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) under the guidance of Daniel Beck, faculty member at the Beck Institute for CBT. Following graduate school, Kristen pursued her interest in working with children ages 0-7. Kristen's clinical expertise earned her national certifications in Child-Parent Psychotherapy and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy, two premier evidence-based practices that address difficulties between children and parents. She is also nationally certified in Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Kristen's specialization in infant and early childhood mental health led her to become the Child-Parent Psychotherapy supervisor across three children's programs in outpatient mental health.
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