Has your child ever come to you, breathless with tears — so over-excited that it’s hard for them to speak? When you ask them what’s wrong, they can’t even get it out?

What if you could use a simple snow globe to help calm them? By taking just a minute (after making sure no one is in immediate danger) to watch the snow settle and fall peacefully inside the snow globe, you can help your child steady their breathing and bring their focus and attention to a place of calm. Now you can both talk, clearly, about what’s really bothering them.

I use this breathing technique and ones like it to help children calm themselves when they feel overwhelmed, and the transformative power of breathing never ceases to amaze me. Breathing is the most natural thing in the world, the foundation of our lives. We do it without thinking about it, but by tapping into the power of this simple act, we can better manage stress and live happier lives.

I turned to mindfulness meditation myself when my husband was diagnosed with stage-four lymphoma in 1993. I needed something to help manage my stress. As I began to see the benefits of the practice in my life, I wondered if it might also help my two young children. I shared simple mindfulness practices with them and was amazed at what I saw. Both children were less reactive to big and small irritants than they had been before. Inspired, I took the teachings to the Boys and Girls Club in Santa Monica and then into a few area classrooms. I developed the Inner Kids program and now, ten years later, the program is internationally known and has brought mindful awareness to children, teens and families all over the world.

I’ve written a book, filled with dozens of the age-appropriate, mindfulness-based exercises, songs, games, and fables I’ve developed over the past decade. These fun and friendly techniques help you help your children tap into their awareness of breathing, the physical world, and their inner lives, and pay attention to what really matters.

By Susan Kaiser Greeland

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