As we head into the holiday season, you might be searching for some quick relaxation techniques to practice with your child. It’s that time of year when leaf blowers are working hard. Invite your child to become a little leaf blower with you and practice deep breathing at the same time. First, set the tone by taking a silent nature walk to collect some dry leaves. Remind your child to be mindful of her senses while you are walking. Paying attention to the sounds, sights, smells, touches, and tastes while walking. Second, collect several dry leaves. Return inside, brining the dry leaves to a table or other hard, flat surface. Next, sit down in front of your pile of leaves and tell your child that you are going to be leaf blowers and practice your deep breathing at the same time. Remind your child that deep breathing sends a signal to the body that it is time to relax. Focusing on the leaves in front of you, take a slow, deep inhale. Slowly exhale and blow your leaf across the table. The slower and longer the exhale, the better. Add a slight pause between breaths. Take turns seeing how far you can blow your leaf across the table. Finally, take turns blowing the leaves to each other. Have person one take a deep breath and blow the leaf to person two across the table. Now, person two blows it back to person one.
Variation: I made a poster at school to collect our leaves, also showing how many deep breaths we had taken. I drew the silhouette of a fall tree without leaves, (just branches and trunk). As we blew the leaves across the table, each student used tape to hang a leaf on the tree. It helped us keep track of our deep breaths. Writing on the poster read: Deep Breathing Helps Me Relax.