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  • Jessica Poggioli

Breathe Like a Whale!

Emotional regulation, or the ability to manage or express emotions appropriately, is hard enough for grownups. But for kids with ADHD and other executive function issues, it can seem like an impossible task.


We've known for a long time that what an angry or overwhelmed child (or adult) needs is to relax the body in order to relax the emotions. Telling someone to calm down when they're angry or upset isn't going to help them because their fight or flight system is activated and they are too aroused to respond to logic and reason. They need to start putting their body into a relaxed state so that their emotions will follow suit and then more physiological symptoms will deactivate.



But telling a young child to slow down their breathing isn't especially helpful. (My own six-year-old has sometimes speeded up her breathing when she is upset, just to spite me.) The folks at Beetledoo have created this excellent video just for kids (though I suppose grownups can watch it, too) reminding them to "breathe like a whale" when they need to cool off. It's catchy, it's funny, and it just might help your own little calf's emotions regulate a little sooner the next time there's a crisis with an itchy tag or a misplaced favorite toy.

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Jessica Poggioli, Psy.D.

201-574-3533

Waldwick, NJ 07463 & Warwick, NY 10990

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