Blue School teacher Annabelle Baylin invites even the youngest children to grab a favorite stuffed animal and join in a breathing activity--perfect for quiet time or at the end of the day.
Meditation - Breathing with Your Stuffie for Little Ones
DAWN WILLIAMS: Welcome to On Balance, a podcast for parents created by Blue School educators. We know that even in ideal circumstances, finding balance at home and in life can be a challenge. And now, we’ve been called on to be 24 hour a day parents while balancing work responsibilities and our own emotions during this difficult moment in time. If you're finding it particularly difficult, we’re here to partner with you. Together, we will find our way.
This is a bonus episode to our interview with Blue School teacher Annabelle Baylin in which Annabelle will share a breathing practice for very young children and a stuffed animal.
ANNABELLE BAYLIN: Hi, we’re going to be doing some breathing together. And we’re going to take the help of a stuffie to do our breathing, so go and take a minute to get a stuffie that you love that’s going to help you. Okay. We’re going to take the stuffie and we’re going to do some breathing with our stuffie together, and it’s going to help us feel a little bit more relaxed and help us calm down when we need to calm down a little bit.
So, see if you can find a spot where you can lay down all the way on your back. You can do this with your grown up, too, it feels really good. You’re laying down on your back, your bellybutton pointing up to the ceiling. Your feet are all the way out in front of you. Your legs are on the floor, and your arms are by your side on the floor. And you can put your stuffie next to you on the floor to start, and then your stuffie will help you in a minute.
So first, we’re just going to help our body relax a little bit. And it helps me to do this when I give some squeezes and then let them go. So start by squeezing your hands really, really, really, really, really tight into little balls. Squeeze as hard as you can and feel it so tight. And then let them go. Open your hands, and feel how good that feels to open. One more time. Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze as tight as you possibly can, and let it go. And now try doing this with your feet. See if you can scrunch up your toes as tight as you possibly can. Scrunch them up into a little ball, and let it go. You can even sigh out, it feels really good. One more time, try it with your toes and your hands at the same time. Squeeze and squeeze and squeeze and squeeze them so tight and sigh out. Now try it with your face. Imagine that you just ate a sour lemon. Squeeze your face like you just ate the most sour lemon, and let it go. Try it one more time. Squeeze it, you just ate a really sour lemon, and let it go. Okay, last one. Now you’re going to pretend that your body is a giant straw and you’re going to suck up your favorite drink through that straw from your toes to your head by squeezing. Okay, are you ready? I think I’m going to drink some seltzer through my straw. Okay, here I go. Ready? Squeeze everything, your whole body, your toes, your hands, your legs, your face. And let it go. Let everything go. Okay, one more time. Take one more sip. Ready? Squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, squeeze so tight, so tight. And let it all go. Feel how good that feels.
Now your body is ready to relax. And now I think your stuffie is ready to help you with some breaths. So put your stuffie on your belly and you’re going to take a deep breath into your belly and imagine filling up your belly like a balloon. And watch your stuffie rise up as you breathe in and breathe out. Watch your stuffie go down as your belly pushes the air out. And breathe in, watch your stuffie rise up. And breathe out, the stuffie is going down. Now just let your body go back to breathing the way it always does. Did you know that your body is always breathing? You don’t have to think about it. It’s just going to do it.
See if you can watch your belly rising up and giving your stuffie a little ride up. And going down when you breathe out, going down. You can imagine that your belly is like the waves of the ocean giving your, rocking your stuffie to sleep. Up and down. Up and down. See if you can rock your stuffie to sleep with your breath. So gently. Keeping your stuffie balanced on your belly. Try not to let it fall, but if it does, it’s okay, you can just put it back. And when you feel like your stuffie has fallen asleep, you can give your body a big stretch. And you’re ready to do the next part of your day. Bye.