Calm Anxiety with Butterfly Breaths

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Calm anxiety with Butterfly Breaths. This mindful breathing activity can help Children to calm the physical sensations of anxiety through relaxing their nervous system. In this playful relaxation technique we use a calming butterfly visualisation to help children to feel brave and imagine their butterflies floating away.

My breath can make me calm and free.
Like a butterfly floating above a tree.

Book of Breaths – Calm Ahoy Kids

You can support this activity with the Butterfly Breaths activity pack and My Book of Breaths, there are also creative and playful Butterfly themed activity ideas including a free mindful colouring page at the end of the post.

{Related Page: A to Z List of Breathing Activities for Kids}

Butterfly Breaths Managing Childrens Anxiety

What is Anxiety?

Anxiety is a natural response to stress that can be helpful in certain situations. It is a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear. Anxiety for Children can be a normal reaction to stressful situations, like starting a new club, first day of school or taking an exam.

Why does Anxiety feel like Butterflies in the Tummy?

Anxiety can often be described as feeling like having butterflies in your stomach, this is because it can cause physical sensations in your body. This might feel like a fluttering or a churning feeling. When we feel anxious, our body releases adrenaline and other stress hormones, which can cause these physical symptoms like the ‘butterflies in the tummy’ sensation.

These sensations can be caused by the body’s natural “fight or flight” response, which is triggered by anxiety. This response is designed to help protect us from danger by preparing the body to either fight or run away. It’s really important for kids to understand why anxiety happens and what causes it.

However, for some people, anxiety can become chronic and can interfere with their daily activities and relationships. In this case it’s important to seek help from your doctor.

{Related Post: 23 Playful Breathing Activities for Kids}

What are Butterfly Breaths?

Butterfly Breathing is a mindful breathing exercise which uses gentle movement and visualisation. In this playful breathing exercise children can choose to use either the breath or the arm movement to develop focus, while encouraging a sense of calm through actively relaxing the body.

The use of visualisation sparks the imagination through imagining the colour of the butterfly’s wings, how it feels to fly in the sky and brave the butterfly is as they take flight.

Calming anxiety with Butterfly Breaths

How to Take a Butterfly Breath

Ready to calm anxiety with Butterfly Breaths? Let’s go!

Optional Resources:

{Related Post: Take a Bunny Breath and Improve Focus + Free Printables}


Step 1 – Introduce:

“Today we are practicing butterfly breaths. We are going to use our bodies and our breath to practice being calm and brave like a butterfly. We will imagine our butterflies floating away calming”

Step 2 – Spark the Imagination:

“Let’s imagine that we are a butterfly resting on the soft green grass. We are going to take flight into the sky and flutter freely above all the tree’s. It may feel a little bit scary but we can be brave.

What colour butterfly wings do you have? Imagine the warm sun on your beautiful wings and it sparkles through the tree’s.”

Step 3 – Show:

First give a little demonstration of the breathing activity actions.

  1. Now let’s sit comfortably, imagine the soft grass beneath us.
  2. Rest our wings (arms) by our sides. Give them a little wiggle and relax them.
  3. When we breathe in we will lift up our wings to the sky.

Step 4 – Lead:

  1. Now Brave Butterfly’s let’s slowly breathe in, bringing our wings to the sky.
  2. Stretch your wings, notice how it feels.
  3. Then breathe out, slowly lowering your wings and relax. Well done.
  4. Let’s try that again and this time as we breathe out imagine butterflies from our tummies floating up into the sky.
  5. Breathe in slowly, bring your wings up and breathe out butterflies and bring your wings down.
  6. Now imagine the butterflies floating above the trees and watch them flutter away, can you see the colours on their wings? Take a moment to relax and be still.
  7. Well done brave butterflies.

Step 5 – Reflect

Ask children to share what colour their beautiful butterfly wings were, then encourage them to share if they noticed anything whilst trying their butterfly breaths. You can then follow this breathing activity with the free colouring page or one of the other creative activities listed at the end of the post.

Relax Kids Calming Anxiety

5 Tips on How to Help Children Manage Anxiety

Anxiety is a common problem among children, and it can be difficult for them to handle. However, there are several things that parents and caregivers can do to help. Here are my 5 tips to help children manage anxiety::

  1. Talk to your child about their anxiety: Encourage your child to share their feelings and worries with you. Listen to them without judgment and offer reassurance. I love these worry monsters and use one every night with my son.
  2. Teach them relaxation techniques: Deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and visualization can help your child calm down when they feel anxious. Check out my relaxation stories here.
  3. Encourage physical activity: Exercise helps to reduce anxiety and stress. Encourage your child to engage in physical activities such as sports, dancing, or even just playing outside. We love taking a Colour Walk .
  4. Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques can help children focus on the present moment and reduce anxiety. We love Hot Chocolate Breaths!
  5. Encourage positive self-talk: Teach your child to use positive self-talk to counteract negative thoughts and feelings of anxiety. Try using Affirmations with kids.
Butterfly Breaths free Coloring Page

Fun Butterfly Themed Creative Ideas to Extend the Butterfly Breathing Activity:

Engaging in creative activities can help children to express their feelings, reduce stress, and build resilience. Here are some ways that creativity can help children manage anxiety:

1 – Paper Butterfly Wand

I love this craft and kids do too! Easy to make and lots of fun. Try adding a feather to the top of the straw and blowing it out. My boy discovered this and loved it! Paper Butterfly’s – Mindful Movement Craft for Kids

2 – Mindful Butterfly Colouring

Mindful coloring is a wonderful activity for children to help them reduce anxiety and stress. When children are anxious, it can be hard for them to focus on the present moment. Use my free Butterfly coloring page, trace the butterflies and colour in. We love these Crayola markers, and colouring pencils.

3 – Calming Coffee Filter Butterfly’s

We loved turning watercolour coffee filter art into butterfly’s, they were a great success and really easy! Lots of excitement when the colours all spread out with the addition of water! Read the full post with instruction here.

Calm Childrens Anxiety Breathing Activity

I hope you enjoy taking a butterfly breath and practicing this calming breathing activity with your children. I would love to hear about how it goes. You can find me on Instagram @calmahoykids. Take Care Emma x

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