PCA News

Is Breathing Overrated?

Why taking a deep breath will only take you so far

There is something about the shift after Labor Day making it feel as if summer has said adieu. SEC football is here, the novelty of a new school year has worn off, and routine is a reality. Is anybody struggling? Maybe you have a very tired 1st grader who is used to a half-day kindergarten schedule, or various uniform quirks are arising, or homework triggers begin fueling anxious or angry feelings?

Counselors are infamous for training breathing techniques to help children cope with big feelings, and the reality is breathing is a great practice! In fact, it is difficult to reason with a child that is feeling out of control, so the first step to making a better decision is to become calmer. No matter what type of breathing – square, circle, lying down, visualizing an ocean, or reciting a scripture verse or truth to accompany a four count breath – calming the amygdala to regain a rational thought process is crucial. But… we can’t stop there.

The analogy of putting a spare tire on your car to only implementing breathing techniques means the problem is temporarily handled, as is the big emotion. You still need a new tire, and the anxiety or anger triggers are still very much present. Think of breathing as a support system to aid your child to do the hard work required to move forward, not the sole answer to the problem. The uniform is still waiting for your child as is the long day and the big presentation in front of the entire class. 

Breathing will not eliminate these requirements; it only acts as the first line of defense so you can train a calmer brain to do hard things. Now the work can begin as parents, teachers, and counselors teach students to push against the crippling thoughts to embrace the expectation or goal. If you keep breathing as one piece of the other parts to manage anxiety and subdue anger and not the culmination, you will successfully begin to equip your child to receive the next tool which is, “I can do hard things.”

Quarter 1 Guidance Instruction / Ephesians 4:32, James 1:19

Lesson #1
K –  5th / Meet the School Counselor: What I can do for you, what I can’t do, where I’m located, & 4 ways to connect with me (teacher, parent, self, referral box)
K – 2nd / Milk Goes to School by Terry Border

Lesson #2
K – 1st / Lacy Walker Nonstop Talker by Christianne Jones, fruit of the spirit: Self-control
2nd – 5th / Social Filter: Protect your friends’ feelings,  save you from feeling embarrassed, show respect to adults in charge, help you stay out of trouble 

Lesson #3
K – 1st / A Little Spot of Kindness by Diane Alber, fruit of the spirit: Kindness
2nd – 5th / Communication: Active Listening- the importance of tone, body language, and facial expressions when listening
3rd – 5th / Journaling begins 

Lesson #4
K – 1st / A Small Kindness by Stacy McAnulty, fruit of the spirit: Kindness continued
2nd / A Small Kindness by Stacy McAnulty, Active Listening practice continued
3rd – 5th  / Kahoot summative assessment, journaling