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Inside: We’ll discuss all of the ooey-gooey box breathing benefits and how to do square breathing for kids and adults, (plus when and why). We’ve also included three box breathing posters completely free!


Despite a somewhat curious name, square breathing is a super simple exercise that can leave you feeling undeniably euphoric!

Have you ever heard the saying, “just breathe?”

Well, there’s a reason why this little saying is oh so popular, deep breathing is scientifically proven to provide a laundry list of amazing benefits (more on that below).

But here’s the problem:

Sometimes we (and especially our kids) need a little help staying focused when breathing purposefully. Our minds easily wander off down the garden path.

Enter fun breathing exercises.

Today, we will look specifically at square breathing, otherwise known as box breathing. We’ll dive deeper into when and how to use these exercises, plus examine all the life-changing benefits this simple breathing exercise can provide to you and your kids.

square breathing for kids
Snag this free printable at the end of this post!

What is box breathing?

Box breathing is a type of rhythmic breathing where you follow a pattern to help you stay focused. It’s a paced breathing exercise that you can do anywhere!

Think waiting at a traffic light, while in the shower, or even at work!

It consists of 4-second rotations of breathing in, holding your breath, breathing out, holding your breath, and repeating. Box breathing is also known as the Navy SEAL breathing technique or square breathing, and it’s a surprisingly simple way to calm down and feel great.

Take advantage of our free square breathing for kids posters and our adult version poster, too. (Because we all can have a little fun with this, right?) You can access these free downloads at the end of this post. Just click the button on the version you want that says, “download here” (or download all three).

box breathing technique
Free Box Breathing Poster Download Available at the end of Post

Benefits of Box Breathing

Breathing exercises have many, many, many benefits! Besides the obvious of oxygenating your mind and body and nourishing your cells, there are other benefits you might not have thought of:

Box Breathing:

  • Turns off the “fight or flight” response
  • Reduces anxious or instrusive thoughts
  • Lowers stress in the mind and body (breathing reduces cortisol, in this study participants showed lower levels of cortisol after deep breathing)
  • Increases positivity and wellbeing
  • Decreases anxiety and depression
  • Increases mental clarity and focus
  • Improves future reactions to stress, by regularly practising we change how the body automaically responds to stress

And in our kids, square breathing is an excellent coping strategy. It helps our kids with impulse control, emotional regulation, and anger and anxiety management.

40 printable cards for the home or classroom

Calm Down Cards

These fun and engaging cards will help you master the magical art of distraction and calm your kiddo down instantly.

Tips for box breathing

There are several steps that parents and teachers can take to make box breathing easier for their kiddo’s and themselves:

  • Find a quiet space with as little distraction as possible.
  • Place one hand on your chest and one on your lower stomach.
  • Try to keep your mind focused on the breathing, if your mind wanders off, pull it back to the breath.
  • Relax your forehead, shoulders and the top of your head.

Square Breathing for Kids Tip!

Make it a habit to do fun breathing exercises daily. It helps if you can incorporate them into your daily routine. Think: Before bed, or when waking up.

If you are a practitioner or teacher, you can do your breathing exercises after the opening announcements or after recess to help calm everyone down.

Little Chart Big Possibilities

Routine Chart For Kids

Use our printable routine chart to add helpful breathing exercises to your daily routine. Thirty-six task cards are included so you can mix and match to find the perfect morning and evening routine for your family.

Square Breathing Instructions:

  1. Find a comfortable position, lying or sitting where distractions are minimal
  2. Take a few normal, cleansing breaths and start to relax your face, shoulders and head.
  3. Place your index finger at the top left of the square, and trace along the sides as you breath. (If you aren’t using the printable, imagine a square in front of you).
  4. Breathe in for a count of 1, 2, 3, 4. You’re doing great.
  5. Hold for a count of 1, 2, 3, 4. Feel the breath filling your body. Pay attention to your heart beat.
  6. Breathe out for a count of 1, 2, 3, 4. Exhale deeply.
  7. Hold for a count of 1, 2, 3, 4.
  8. Repeat four to six times.
four square breathing free printable free square breathing posters for kids
Four Square Breathing Free Printable (Square Breathing Posters for Kids) Access below

Instructions for Using These Free Four Square Breathing Printables

  1. Choose your square breathing poster preference (or download them all)
  2. Download to your phone or computer
  3. Print (or use on your device)
  4. Recommended: Card stock so that your poster can handle a little wear and tear (we all know kids are hard on things).

Final Thoughts on Box Breathing

Box breathing can help you slow down your breathing, and this works to calm your nervous system and decrease stress.

It’s a super simple yet incredibly powerful relaxation technique for you and your kids that can help you remember to breathe.

what is box breathing?

What you Should Do Next…

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