Try This: The humming breath, a virtual hug for kids

The humming breath is a great way for children to calm and soothe themselves. It’s sort of like a virtual hug, giving you that “everything is going to be OK” feeling, says Leah Kalish, founder of Move With Me Action Adventures, which trains teachers in movement education.

What it does


The deep breathing and pressure point massage relaxes, while the back-and-forth eye movement helps improve eye-teaming skills and cross-motor coordination so kids can think, as well as feel, better. Prompt your children or students to use it when they are tired, cranky, frustrated or overstimulated.

What to do

From a seated position, find the points of the collarbones with your right hand, then move down slightly and find the two soft spots on either side of the sternum above your top rib. With your thumb and forefinger or middle finger, gently press or massage those two points. It should make you want to take a breath, says Kalish, because you are massaging near the carotid artery.

Put your left hand on your belly, just below the belly button. Inhale deeply. Then, exhale slowly with a humming sound, as you gently move your eyes from the left to the right and back, repeating the slow scan from side to side as you release all of the air in your lungs. Remember to move just your eyes and not your head.

Kalish teaches it to children with this chant.

“One hand on my belly, I let it rest. I bring the other hand up to my chest. I find a pair of buttons beneath that shelf. And I hum to calm myself. I move my eyes slowly to the left, then to the right. Heart calm, mind clear, body strong, eyes bright!”

How much

Do it two to three times until relaxation is achieved.