Teen with a Dream™ is a 501 (c) (3) charity founded specifically to enrich the lives of pediatric cancer patients and the lives of their families by combating the effects of social isolation and loneliness during chemotherapy through specialized social, educational, and financial programs.
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Today we are featuring Miriam, an original Dream Team Member and certified therapist who has been by our side the past 12 years. We are so excited to share Miriam’s first feature post, enjoy!
Young children who have a diagnosis of cancer or other serious conditions experience a great deal of stress in their lives. One of the ways to help them deal with stress is to teach them how breathing can help them feel more calm.
A good way to start is to teach your child how to belly breathe (also known as abdominal breathing). There is a Sesame Street video on YouTube that sings a song about the calming effects of belly breathing.
Another good way to teach a child as young as three years old is when they are laying down ready for bed. Have them put a small stuffed animal on their abdomen. Ask them to breath in and watch the animal rise and fall with each breath in and out. (Gremlin Taming Institute). With practice they can use this technique during medical procedures or other stressful times.
There is a helpful ebook by Zamirha called Deep Breathing for Kids that offers ideas for teaching calming breathing. One technique (paraphrased) is to have the child imagine they are a teapot "how big are you? What color are you? Can you feel the lid on your head? Sit up straight so the lid doesn’t fall off! Take a slow easy breath in. As you breath out make your steam making a ssssssssss sound.. Breath out slow and steady and see how long you can make the steam go.
A great way of teaching our children how to breath is through modeling. While teaching we may even feel more calm ourselves.