Breathing Techniques for Children Having Anxiety Attack

Breathing Techniques for Children Having Anxiety Attack

Breathing Techniques for Children Having Anxiety Attack

As parents and caregivers, it can be difficult to see a child experiencing anxiety. Anxiety attacks can be overwhelming and frightening for both the child and the caregiver. However, there are effective ways to help children manage their anxiety and regain a sense of calmness.

Breathing techniques are an important tool for children to cope with anxiety attacks. These techniques can help regulate their emotions, reduce anxiety, and promote a sense of relaxation. Teaching children effective coping strategies like deep breathing, relaxation exercises, and mindfulness activities can be empowering and provide them with lifelong skills to manage their anxiety.

Key Takeaways:

  • Breathing techniques can help children cope with anxiety attacks.
  • Teaching effective coping strategies can empower children and provide them with lifelong skills.
  • Deep breathing, relaxation exercises, and mindfulness activities are effective coping strategies for children with anxiety.

Understanding Anxiety Attacks in Children

As parents or caregivers, it's important to recognize the signs of anxiety attacks in children. Anxiety attacks can manifest in a variety of ways, including but not limited to:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Feelings of fear or dread

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms, it's likely that they are having an anxiety attack.

There are several factors that can cause anxiety attacks in children, such as stress, trauma, genetic predisposition, and underlying medical conditions.

It's important for parents and caregivers to understand that anxiety attacks in children are fairly common and can be managed effectively with the right coping skills and strategies. By recognizing the signs and symptoms of anxiety attacks and teaching children coping skills, we can help them better manage their anxiety and lead happier, healthier lives.

The Power of Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is a powerful relaxation technique that can help children control their emotions, reduce anxiety, and promote a sense of calmness. By taking slow, deep breaths, children can regulate their body's response to stress and create a sense of peace and relaxation.

Here's how to help your child practice deep breathing:

  1. Find a quiet, comfortable place where your child can sit or lie down.
  2. Encourage your child to close their eyes and take a deep breath in through their nose, counting to four as they inhale.
  3. Hold the breath for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through the mouth, counting to four again as they exhale.
  4. Repeat this process five to ten times, or as necessary to help your child feel calm and centered.

Deep breathing exercises can be practiced at any time of day and in any situation. Encourage your child to use this technique whenever they feel anxious or stressed, and remind them that deep breathing can be a powerful tool for managing their emotions and promoting a sense of calmness.

Calming Strategies for Children with Anxiety

When it comes to coping with anxiety attacks, teaching children calming strategies can be incredibly helpful. These strategies can help children regain control over their emotions and manage their stress levels. Here are some effective calming strategies that parents and caregivers can teach children:

  1. Counting Breaths: This is a simple technique that involves having the child count each breath as they inhale and exhale. Focusing on counting helps children stay present in the moment and reduces anxiety.
  2. Guided Imagery: This technique involves having the child imagine a peaceful or calming scene in their mind, like a beach or forest. Encourage them to use all their senses to visualize the scene and feel more relaxed.

In addition to these techniques, progressive muscle relaxation and positive self-talk can also be helpful strategies. Encourage children to practice these strategies regularly, even when they're not experiencing anxiety attacks. Consistent practice can help make these techniques more effective in managing anxiety over time.

Mindfulness Exercises for Anxious Children

Practicing mindfulness can be a powerful tool for children dealing with anxiety. Mindfulness exercises encourage children to focus on the present moment, rather than worrying about the past or the future.

A simple mindfulness practice is the body scan. Ask your child to lie down and close their eyes. Then ask them to focus on each individual part of their body, starting from the toes and moving up to the top of their head. This exercise helps children become more aware of their body and can promote relaxation.

Mindful breathing is another technique that can help anxious children. Ask your child to focus on their breath, noticing the sensation of air moving in and out of their body. If their mind wanders, encourage them to gently bring their focus back to their breath.

Grounding techniques are also helpful for anxious children. Ask your child to name five things they can see, four things they can touch, three things they can hear, two things they can smell, and one thing they can taste. This exercise can help children feel more grounded and present.

Relaxation Techniques for Children with Anxiety

Helping children relax their minds and bodies during anxiety attacks is essential in preventing further stress and distress. Relaxation techniques are simple yet effective ways to manage anxiety, and they can be tailored to suit the needs of every individual. In this section, we will explore some relaxation techniques for children with anxiety.

Progressive Muscle Relaxation

Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing and then relaxing individual muscle groups. It helps children recognize the difference between muscle tension and relaxation, promoting a sense of calmness in the body. To practice this technique, guide your child through tensing and relaxing each muscle group, starting from the feet and working up to the face. Encourage your child to focus on their breath.


Visualization is an effective technique for children who have an active imagination. It involves guiding the child to visualize a peaceful and calming scene. Encourage children to imagine themselves in a relaxing environment like a beach, a forest, or a mountain. Use descriptive language and encourage them to engage all their senses. This technique helps redirect the mind's focus from anxiety-inducing thoughts to calming thoughts.

Guided Imagery

Guided imagery involves helping children to create vivid mental images of calming and peaceful scenarios. It helps reduce anxiety by engaging the child's imagination and promoting relaxation. To practice guided imagery, guide your child through a calming scenario and encourage them to use their senses while imagining the scene.

"Relaxation techniques can help children manage anxiety and promote a sense of calmness in their daily lives."

Breathing Exercises for Children with Panic Attacks

If your child experiences panic attacks, it can be incredibly distressing for them and for you as a caregiver. However, breathing exercises can be an effective way to help them manage their symptoms and regain a sense of control. The following exercises can be practiced during a panic attack:

  1. The 4-7-8 Breath: Start by exhaling through your mouth completely. Then, inhale deeply through your nose for a count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7, and then exhale completely through your mouth for a count of 8. Repeat this cycle for several minutes until you feel calmer.
  2. Breathing through a Straw: Have your child breathe in and out through a straw for a few minutes during a panic attack. This technique helps them slow down their breathing and regulate their carbon dioxide levels.
  3. Belly Breathing: Have your child lie down on their back and place their hands on their belly. Then, have them breathe in deeply through their nose, allowing their belly to rise. Exhale slowly through their mouth, allowing their belly to fall. This exercise helps them focus their breathing on their diaphragm, which helps regulate their nervous system.

Remember that practicing these exercises outside of panic attacks can also be helpful in reducing overall anxiety and improving their ability to manage stress in the long term.

Creating a Relaxation Routine

Consistency and regular practice are key when it comes to helping children manage anxiety with breathing techniques. Creating a relaxation routine can help kids incorporate these techniques into their daily lives and establish a sense of calmness and balance.

Here are some tips for creating a relaxation routine:

  1. Set aside a specific time each day for relaxation practice.
  2. Find a quiet and comfortable space where your child can relax without distractions.
  3. Encourage your child to practice deep breathing exercises to start the relaxation routine.
  4. Introduce a variety of relaxation techniques such as visualization, progressive muscle relaxation, and guided imagery.
  5. End the relaxation routine with positive self-talk and encouraging statements.

Remember, a relaxation routine is a personal practice, so it's important to adapt it to your child's needs and preferences. Encourage your child to try different techniques and find what works best for them.

Supporting Anxious Children with Breathing Techniques

Teaching children breathing techniques is just the first step in helping them manage their anxiety attacks. As a parent or caregiver, it is important to provide ongoing support to ensure that your child is using these techniques effectively and regularly. Here are some tips for supporting anxious children with breathing techniques:

  1. Encourage regular practice: Breathing techniques are most effective when practiced regularly. Encourage your child to practice breathing exercises in a calm and relaxed state, before anxiety attacks occur. Find ways to incorporate deep breathing into your child's daily routine, such as before bedtime or during mealtime.

  2. Be patient: It may take time for your child to fully embrace and be comfortable with breathing techniques. Be patient and understanding, and offer positive reinforcement for every effort they make in practicing these techniques.

  3. Practice together: Practice deep breathing with your child, making it a shared experience that reinforces the importance of relaxation and calmness. Model relaxation techniques and encourage your child to follow along.

  4. Create a safe environment: Provide a safe and supportive environment where your child can express their feelings and share their anxiety experiences. Listen and validate their concerns, and work together to identify triggers and coping strategies.

  5. Be consistent: Keep practicing these techniques consistently and encourage your child to use them whenever they feel anxious or stressed. Consistency is key to helping your child feel comfortable and confident with these techniques over time.

By supporting your child in using breathing techniques, you are providing them with valuable coping skills that can help manage their anxiety attacks. Remember that your child's mental health is just as important as their physical health, and that with ongoing support and practice, they can learn to effectively manage their anxiety and lead a more balanced life.

Believing in the Power of Breathing

As parents and caregivers, it's essential to instill confidence and belief in the power of breathing techniques for anxious children. By helping children understand the positive effects of deep breathing, you can empower them to manage their anxiety and take control of their emotions.

Research has shown that deep breathing exercises can have a significant impact on physical and mental well-being, reducing stress and anxiety levels, and promoting a sense of calmness. By practicing deep breathing regularly, children can develop a lifelong coping skill that can be adapted and used throughout their lives.

As you introduce breathing techniques to your child, be positive and encouraging. Let them know that it's okay to feel anxious or overwhelmed and that they have the power to manage their feelings. Model deep breathing techniques yourself and practice them together regularly so that they become a familiar and comfortable routine.

By building confidence in the power of breathing techniques, you can help your child manage their anxiety and lead a calmer, more balanced life.

Breathing Techniques as Lifelong Coping Skills

Teaching children breathing techniques is more than just a short-term solution to managing anxiety attacks. These techniques can provide children with lifelong coping skills that they can adapt and use as they grow older.

By practicing these techniques regularly, children can develop better awareness of their emotions and learn how to manage them in healthy ways. Deep breathing, for example, can be a helpful tool for managing stress and anxiety at any age.

Encouraging children to incorporate breathing techniques into their daily routines can also help them develop healthy habits early on. These habits can support them throughout their lives and help them cope with a range of challenges beyond anxiety attacks.

As children grow and change, their coping skills will need to adapt as well. By helping children build a strong foundation of coping strategies early on, parents and caregivers can support them in developing a lifelong toolkit for managing anxiety and other difficult emotions.

Encouraging Open Communication

It's essential to create a safe space for children to express their feelings and concerns openly. Encouraging open communication can help children manage anxiety attacks more effectively and promote healthy emotional development. Here are a few practical tips to facilitate open communication:

  • Listen actively and without judgment when your child wants to talk.
  • Acknowledge and validate your child's feelings.
  • Use open-ended questions to encourage your child to share more information about their thoughts and feelings.
  • Reassure your child that it's okay to feel anxious, and you're there to support them.
  • Model healthy communication habits by expressing your feelings and concerns in a calm and respectful manner.

It's important to note that open communication can be difficult to establish, especially if children feel scared or embarrassed to talk about their anxiety. Be patient, supportive, and persistent in creating an environment that fosters open communication.

Building a Supportive Network

As parents or caregivers of children with anxiety, it is important to remember that you are not alone. Building a supportive network can provide much-needed resources and encouragement to both you and your child.

Friends and family can offer emotional support and an understanding ear. Teachers and mental health professionals can provide guidance and additional coping strategies for your child. Seek out support groups or online communities to connect with others who are going through similar experiences.

Remember that building a supportive network takes time and effort, but the benefits are invaluable. Encourage your child to connect with supportive individuals or resources and be sure to take advantage of support yourself.

Practicing Self-Care as a Parent or Caregiver

Parenting an anxious child can be overwhelming and challenging. It's natural to want to put all of your focus and energy into helping your child manage their anxiety. However, it's important to remember to take care of yourself too. Practicing self-care can help you be more present, patient, and supportive for your child.

Here are some ways you can practice self-care:

  • Take breaks: Set aside time for yourself each day to do something you enjoy, such as reading a book, taking a walk, or practicing your own relaxation exercises.
  • Stay connected: Talking to friends or family members can help you feel less isolated and more supported. Consider joining a support group for parents of anxious children.
  • Get enough rest: Prioritize getting enough sleep and rest to avoid burnout.
  • Stay active: Regular exercise can help reduce stress and improve your mood.
  • Practice mindfulness: Incorporate mindfulness techniques into your daily routine to help manage your own stress levels.

Remember, taking care of yourself is an important part of being an effective caregiver for your child. By practicing self-care, you can help create a positive and supportive environment for your child to manage their anxiety.


Teaching children effective coping skills for anxiety attacks is crucial for their overall well-being and mental health. Breathing techniques, in particular, can provide children with a powerful tool to regulate their emotions and reduce anxiety.

By understanding anxiety attacks in children and the power of deep breathing, parents and caregivers can help children manage stress and promote a sense of calmness. It is important to create a relaxation routine and support children in practicing breathing techniques regularly. Encouraging open communication and building a supportive network can also make a big difference in managing anxiety in children.

Remember, breathing techniques offer a lifelong coping skill for children with anxiety attacks. By nurturing these skills and adapting them as they grow, children can lead calmer and more balanced lives. And don't forget about your own self-care as a parent or caregiver. Taking care of your own well-being is essential in better supporting your child's anxiety management.

Believe in the Power of Breathing

Instilling confidence and belief in the power of breathing techniques can go a long way in helping children manage anxiety. As parents and caregivers, we can be positive role models and practice deep breathing ourselves. Let's believe in the power of breathing techniques and empower our children with the tools they need to manage anxiety in their lives.


Q: What are the best breathing techniques for children having anxiety attacks?

A: Some effective breathing techniques for children with anxiety attacks include deep breathing exercises, counting breaths, and guided imagery.

Q: How can breathing techniques help children with anxiety?

A: Breathing techniques can help children regulate their emotions, reduce anxiety, and promote a sense of calmness.

Q: What are some calming strategies for children with anxiety?

A: Calming strategies for children with anxiety can include counting breaths, guided imagery, progressive muscle relaxation, and positive self-talk.

Q: How can mindfulness exercises help anxious children?

A: Mindfulness exercises can help reduce anxiety in children by promoting present-moment awareness and grounding techniques.

Q: What relaxation techniques are suitable for children with anxiety?

A: Relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, visualization, and guided imagery can help children relax their minds and bodies during anxiety attacks.

Q: What breathing exercises are helpful for children with panic attacks?

A: Breathing exercises that involve slow and controlled breathing can be helpful for children experiencing panic attacks.

Q: How can parents create a relaxation routine for anxious children?

A: Parents can create a relaxation routine by incorporating breathing techniques and relaxation exercises into their child's daily routine.

Q: How can parents support anxious children in using breathing techniques?

A: Parents can support anxious children by being patient, understanding, and encouraging them to practice breathing techniques regularly.

Q: Why is believing in the power of breathing important for anxious children?

A: Believing in the power of breathing techniques can instill confidence and empower anxious children to manage their anxiety.

Q: How can breathing techniques provide lifelong coping skills for children?

A: Teaching children breathing techniques can provide them with lifelong coping skills for managing anxiety throughout their lives.

Q: What role does open communication play in managing anxiety attacks?

A: Open communication between children, parents, and caregivers is essential in supporting children during anxiety attacks.

Q: How important is building a supportive network for children with anxiety?

A: Building a supportive network of friends, family, teachers, and mental health professionals can greatly benefit children with anxiety.

Q: How can parents practice self-care to better support their child's anxiety management?

A: Parents can practice self-care by taking care of their own well-being, including practicing deep breathing exercises and stress management techniques.

Q: What is the importance of teaching children breathing techniques for managing anxiety attacks?

A: Teaching children breathing techniques is important for helping them manage anxiety attacks and lead calmer and more balanced lives.


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Alex Anderson-Kahl Breathing Techniques for Children having anxiety attack

Alex Anderson-Kahl

Alex Anderson-Kahl, a Nationally Certified School Psychologist based in Columbia, Missouri, holds an Advanced Degree in School Psychology from the University of South Dakota and is a proud graduate of Luther College. Focused on improving the mental health of elementary students, Alex channels his expertise into insightful narratives that help parents play a positive role in their children's lives.

Drawing from diverse experiences in settings like residential treatment centers for children, working with individuals who have severe and persistent mental illness, and public schools, Alex blends empathy and experience in his work. His commitment to fostering healthier mental environments for children can be explored on his website,, or his Instagram @alexandersonkahl.

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