Often times in my blogs I’m writing about working with adolescents and adults, but in working with children or pre-teens, imagery can be incredibly helpful. One of the best child educators and Educational Psychologists I know who uses imagery with children is Dr. Charlotte Reznick. In her new book, The Power of Your Child’s Imagination: How to Transform Stress and Anxiety into Joy and Success, she lays out 9 tools to help kids deal with issues such as stress reduction, overcoming fears of abandonment and disasters, dealing with bedtime issues, coping with losses, handling anger, and achieving greater success in creative ventures at work and home.

One of the tools she uses to help kids calm themselves is the balloon breath. Here’s how it works:

What it is: Just like some of the mindfulness practices I have laid out in previous blogs, this is a simple technique of breathing slowly and deeply into the belly while paying attention about two inches below the belly button. The child imagines a balloon blowing up and then deflating. This imagery allows the child to better practice this type of diaphragmatic breathing which often centers and calms children.

Dr. Reznick explains how kids use it:

“Fifteen-year-old Terrance, who was frequently upset, was able to calm himself and reduce his stress from an 8 to a 2 (on a 0 to 10 scale) by practicing his balloon breath several times a day. He found it made him feel especially peaceful when he focused his attention on his heart.”

In school, children are taught about English, math, history, and many more didactic topics. However, some of the fundamental concepts of learning how to become more present and calm are often left out. I am so happy that Dr. Reznick is helping fill this gap as it can set a more solid foundation for these children as they grow and develop with the necessary tools to help regulate themselves during difficult times.

In her book she provides a script to work with the children, tips for troubleshooting and real life examples to help guide us.  To learn more about these tools, you can go to Imagery for Kids and check it out for yourself.

What tools do you find helpful to work with kids or pre-teens during difficult times? Please share your thoughts, questions, and stories. What you write below provides a living wisdom for everyone who comes here to benefit from.