Five Finger Breathing Can Help Calm Down Anxious Kids

When your kid is feeling frustrated or is close to a meltdown, sometimes it seems nothing you try will help them calm down. Parents optimistically try kid-friendly deep breathing techniques that have worked in the past, but seem to have lost their power in the moment of need. And having a preschooler scream at you while you try to help soothe them can be enough to make you want to throw a tantrum of your own. And that’s when you need to pull out the “five-finger breathing” technique.

It’s also sometimes called “high-five breathing” or “take-five breathing” and here’s how it works:

  1. Stretch your hand out like a star.
  2. Use the pointer finger of your other hand to trace your fingers up and down.
  3. Slide up each finger slowly, and then slide it down the other side.
  4. Every time you slide your pointer finger up, breathe in through your nose. Every time you slide your finger down, breathe out through your mouth.
  5. Keep going up and down all of your fingers until you finish tracing your hand.

It’s simple, but it’s supposed to help keep your kid from losing their cool and ease their anxiety. And they can do it discreetly and independently, which is great, because sometimes the last thing they want is any help from you!


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