Animal Breathing Exercises for Children:
Mindful Breathwork for Ages 5+

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Can you breathe like a lion when you’re angry?
Or a bee when you want to relax?

Mindful breathing can help children cope with their emotions, improve their energy and focus, sleep better, vent their frustrations, and find peace and relaxation.

Breathwork can help children self-regulate in challenging environments. It has a calming influence on the nervous system, and helps improve oxygen levels in the brain and body.

Using animal imagery helps young children understand the simple breathwork instructions, and enhances their enjoyment of the exercises.

Teaching children to focus on their breath can be done from a very young age. Have fun, go at the child’s pace, and incorporate these exercises into their everyday lives to help them face any situation.

This edition has twelve animal themed mindful breathing exercises:

  • Bear
  • Bee
  • Bird
  • Bunny
  • Cat
  • Dog
  • Dragon
  • Elephant
  • Lion
  • Mouse
  • Snake
  • Whale

Why Breathwork for Children

Stress, mental health issues, and sleep disorders are becoming more prevalent in very young children, increasing significantly in the last few years. Teaching mindful breathing can help children navigate through difficult times. Mindful breathwork can improve oxygen levels in the brain, stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, decrease blood pressure, and slow a rapid heart rate. Mindful breathwork can improve children’s physical and mental health, improve their academic performance, and improve their sleep quality. Breathwork also teaches self regulation which can improve emotional responses. Children learn quickly and teaching them mindful breathwork from a young age helps them to establish lifelong healthy habits they can practice throughout their lives.

Concerning Statistics

According to The Children’s Society:

  • 1 out of every 6 children ages 5-16 are likely to have a mental health problem1
  • In just the last three years, mental health problems in young people have increased by 50%
  • 50% of all mental health problems develop before the age of 142
  • 39.2% of children ages 6-16 have experienced mental health deterioration since 20173

From the Mental Health Survey for Children and Young People, 2021:

  • Probable mental disorders have increased since 2017 from 1 in 9 (11.6%) to 1 in 6 (17.4) in ages 6 to 16 year olds4
  • A quarter (28.7%) of children ages 6-10 have difficulty sleeping at least 3-4 nights each week. This figure jumps to 59.5% in those with probably mental health disorders.4

From the Mental Health Foundation:

  • 70% of children and adolescents who experience mental health problems have not had appropriate interventions at a sufficiently early age.


  1. Mental Health of Children and Young People in England, 2020: NHS digial, 22 October 2020;
  2. Lifetime Prevalence and Age-of-Onset Distributions of DSM-IV Disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62 (6) pp. 593-602. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.62.6.593;
  3. 4. Mental Health of Children and Young People in England 2021 ‑ wave 2 follow up, NHS Digital, 30 September 2021;

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Paperback book

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Purchase printable files on Etsy

Download and print Animal Breathing Exercises for Children on my etsy store! These files are available in both A4 and letter sizes. The high resolution pdfs can be printed and framed or laminated. Or why not turn them into a more interactive experience with your child and fold each printed exercise, place them in a bowl, and allow the child to pick which animal they can learn to breathe like next!

Animal Breathing Exercises in frames
Printable version