Continuing our series on tips to enhance optimal learning, the next is as clear as the nose on your face. Sorry, being witty is obviously not my forte. Learning tip number for is to take some deep breaths.
Most of us grown ups have been told at some point in time to take deep breathes when we are upset as a way to calm down. Have you ever wondered why? What is it about deep breathing that calms us down and how can that enhance learning? Lucky for me, someone else has done a great job of listing the benefits of this. Check out the whys and hows of deep breathing here.
So how can we use this with our kids? In the preschool classroom, we often have the kids practice some deep breathing with us, particularly when they are inattentive, fidgety, etc. But how, you may be asking, do you teach deep breathing to very young children? We use lots of visual cues. For example, when we are breathing in we keep our finger on our nose while we as staff count to four slowly. When we breathe out, we take our flat palm, place it on our mouth and move it away as we blow out the air for four counts. We will repeat the process about three of four times. It is amazing how quickly the kids picked up on this!
So, the next time your kids sit down to do their homework or if they get stuck on a question, have them do some deep breathing then let them resume the task. If they are successful and able to move past the problem or question that got them stuck, point it out later. Help them to see that this is a technique that they can use while taking a test or exam or to prepare before a presentation or performance in front of the class. You are giving them yet one more tool to put in the coping skills toolbox!
Do your kids know about deep breathing? Have you done this with your family? Post your observations!