How to Survive WFH With Kids

deep breathing for stress release

Deep Breathing Games for Kids

Typically, this would be a helpful post I’d share on social media, but I feel this message is one that will stand the test of time and provide ongoing value to my readers. So, blog post it is.

With the additional pressure of this extended COVID-19 isolation, today’s parents of young children are the new “Club Sandwich Generation” who deserve the highest Medal of Honor. Not only do they have to care for their family and possibly their aging parents, they now have to do it while trying to do their job at the same time. There is no more separation of day job and personal life. Gone are the days when the kids were ushered off to school and the parent could focus on their work duties for 8 hours before morphing back into Super Parent at the end of the day.

The New Balancing Act

Parents working from home are asked to juggle a lot, adapting to new ways of doing their jobs with many learning new technology as they go. On top of all this, they had to assume the huge responsibility of enabling their kids to keep up with their school work. Not knowing if we must maintain this pace for two more weeks or until the end of summer in nerve-racking. And none of this will work if the kids are bouncing off the walls consumed by their own anxiety and pent up frustration.

While I love my children dearly and miss them now that they are grown and out on their own, I feel extremely fortunate that I do not have to endure this extended home quarantine with the added responsibility of caring for young kids. After 8 weeks of isolation, I can barely keep myself sane, productively working and trying to maintain some semblance of a normal routine.

The Silver Lining?

Your isolation experience can be fantastic resume material. You can use it as an example of how you persevered and overcame obstacles, adjusted to a new, unpredictable environment and kept business moving forward.

How to Help Children Cope

When life gets crazy, deep breathing can help us feel calmer. Many adults practice some sort of deep breathing exercises, through yoga, mindfulness or meditation. It is a great life skill to teach our children, but how do you convince them to give it a try?

Here are some simple techniques from Shelley M. Greggs, NCSP, a nationally certified school psychologist and adjunct faculty at Florida SouthWestern State College. In her School Smart article in the April 24th Island Sun newspaper, Shelley shares ways to include fun and motion to engage children. The Feather Breathing looks fun to me. Who says games are just for kids?

Elephant Breathing

Stand with your feet wide apart and your arms dangling in front of your body like an elephant’s trunk. As you breathe in deeply through your nose, raise your arms up high above your head. Then slowly swing your arms down again as you breathe out through your mouth.

Bumblebee Breathing

Sitting comfortably, gently place the tips of your pointer fingers in your ears and close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose and then hum quietly as you slowly breathe out.

Snake Breathing

Sitting tall, breathe in, pause, then slowly and smoothly breathe out making a hissing sound for as long as you can.

Feather Breathing

Children practice their breath by blowing real or imaginary feathers off their hand, up in the air, or just at the feather to watch it move.

Wood Chopper Breathing

Standing tall with legs hip distance, raise arms above head and clasp hands together. Breathe in through nose and as you exhale say “HA” to “chop” wood.

Bunny Breathing

Seated, sit on shins with hands in “bunny” hands in front of heart as you take quick sniffs. Sniff rapidly for 10 rounds, relax and repeat several times.

Belly Breathing

Place small toy on stomach to see and feel it rise and fall. See how many breaths it takes for the toy to fall off.

If those are too fun for you, here is a more grown up technique, especially helpful for those of us who spend way too many hours in front of the computer. I think I might actually put this one on a sticky note taped to my monitor.

Shoulder Roll Breathing

Choose a comfortable sitting position. As you take a slow deep breath in through your nose, raise your shoulders up towards your ears. Breathe slowly out through your mouth, lowering your shoulders as you exhale. Repeat slowly, rolling your shoulders up and down in time with your breath.

You can read Shelley’s full article and learn more about helping kids embrace deep breathing here Island Sun page 22.

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A Certified Career Transition Coach specializing in overcoming employment barriers, Trish McGrath has been helping people across industries develop the tools, strategies and confidence to advance their careers since 2009. Whether you are competing for your next promotion or looking for a complete career change, Trish will make sure that you are prepared for success. An experienced resume expert, job search coach and LinkedIn trainer, she guides her clients through the job search process to make it less overwhelming with quicker results. Contact Trish at or (860) 658-6480 or to see how she can help you build a more satisfying career.

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