Breathing Exercises
Activity, Health

Morning Routine For Parents and Children

Maintaining a daily routine is an important part of the family lifestyle; ensuring both you and your child/children are prepped for the tasks and challenges ahead is the best way to avoid having a bad day.

Whether you’re a night owl, or a natural morning chronotype, waking up to a routine that gets the body moving and boosts motivation is the most effective way to gear up ready for the day.

The nose is for breathing, the mouth is for eating.

Nasal breathing is preferred because with mouth breathing there is increased upper airway resistance, adverse effects on sleep quality, and dental problems. Mouth breathing in children leads to abnormal skeletal growth, bite changes (underbite, crossbite and high narrow palate), chronic inflammation of tonsils and gingiva, changes in oral pH leading to higher incidence of dental decay. Furthermore, chronic mouth breathing in children will altar the shape of children's faces affecting breathing, sleeping, eating, swallowing, etc.

Here are 7 useful tips you can apply to your morning routine to prepare you and your child for the day:

7 tips for the best morning routine for you and your children

First light: Sunlight signals the body to wake up. This is part of the circadian rhythms that dictate our body clock and can be leveraged to help us rise and shine at our best.

If your routine/schedule allows, sleep with the curtains/blinds open so the rising sun wakes you naturally. If this timing is inconvenient, then you can gain similar benefits by immediately getting some sun when you wake, open the curtains/blinds, take your morning glass of water and coffee outside or at least by the window/door so you can soak up some daylight.

Cold Water: Ice baths are currently all the rage, and no doubt it’s the most efficient way to expose yourself safely to the cold, however you don’t need to be so extreme to experience the benefits of the cold.

Simply splashing cold water on your face, especially around the eyes, can be a real refreshing way to wake yourself up. In addition to the shock factor that’s likely to perk you up, it has been proven that dowsing the face with cold water increases blood flow to the area, which helps revitalize the skin to prevent the signs of aging.

A great way to add some cold therapy to your routine is to finish showering using cold water; once you’ve cleaned as normal using warm water, switch off the heat and spend 30-60 seconds soaking up the cold. Again the shock factor wakes you up, stimulates the nerves and increase blood circulation so you’re prepped and ready to face the day.

Drink Water: Water really is the elixir of life; in addition to its cooling and hydrating properties it not only sustains life but also provides several other health benefits. Water helps with brain function and alertness; the brain uses water to ensure neurotransmitters function smooth, so those who stay sufficiently hydrated will feel more mentally alert and energetic.

Loading up on water first thing in the morning, even before coffee, can help jumpstart the brain into action. The body wakes up dehydrated after sleeping for hours without drinking any liquid, so it’s important to drink water soon as you rise.

Protein: Consuming protein in the morning is a great way to boost energy, and even aid in weight loss. Eating around 20gram for breakfast is reported to help, this is in part due to the protein suppressing the appetite, and thus helping to regulate how much we eat.

Grounding: A therapeutic technique that involves doing activities outdoors, barefoot, so you electrically connect to the earth, hence the term ‘grounding’. The technique is still in experimental stages, however it is believed that electrical conductivity that exists in the body can be realigned to function more optimally when grounded with the earth.

More research and studies are currently being conducted that explore how grounding may help to treat inflammation, cardiovascular disease, muscle damage, chronic pain, and also help improve overall mood and mental health.

Breathing: Breathing exercises have long been known to offer many great health benefits, some of these benefits include: increased oxygen and blood flow, bigger lung capacity, reduced blood pressure, less stress and more concentration. Performing breathing routine in the morning prepares the mind and body for the day ahead, and using techniques from the pranayama yoga is a great place to start. This popular yogic practice focuses on controlling and manipulating breath to elevate life energies, and there is no set syllabus or specific order to learn techniques, so you can devise a program of exercise that best suits your personal needs.

7 pranayama yoga breathing techniques that are ideal for morning sessions include:

Diaphragmatic Breath

Foundational breathing exercise, also known as known as belly breathing, involves taking slow deep breaths and keeping the chest still whilst the belly rises and falls

Three-Part Breath

This technique builds upon the diaphragmatic breath and is considered one of the most calming techniques. It focusing on breathing through three specific positions; the low belly, low chest and the low throat, whilst concentrating on how air moves through the body as you inhale/exhale. Regular practice of this technique is reported to relieve chronic stress and prevent panic attacks.

Box or Square Breath

A more advanced technique that incorporates counting ratio method with diaphragmatic breathing and breath retention. Box breathing uses a 4-4-4-4 ratio and is believed to balances the body’s energy, reduces mental stress and worry. It can also slow down the heart rate, reduce anxiety and increase oxygen levels in the brain.

Alternate Nostril Breath

This technique uses your fingers to hold one nostril closed whilst you breathe out the other. It is believed to be calming, balancing and can settles the mind and body, as well as our emotions. Alternate Nostril Breathing is often employed to alleviate excessive worry and reduce stress and/or anxiety. It can help relieve feelings of frustration and irritation, and boost self-awareness.

Ocean Sounding Breath

This involves constricting the back of the throat to create a sound similar to the Ocean, without adding any strain. This naturally slows the breath down, which in turn calms the nervous system and also energizes the body. 

Skull Shining Breath

Another advanced technique that involves exhaling quickly through the nose, Skull Shining Breath is a highly energizing technique that’s great to add to your morning routine. Also known as the breath of fire, as it warms the body as it’s performed, it is traditionally practiced to cleanse the brain and mind and to increase lung strength.

Chanting Breath

This simple yet effective way to calm yourself when stressed simple requires you to chant the classic “Om” mantra, whilst slowly belly breathing. This helps strengthen mental focus and helps to reduce negative thoughts and emotions.

Interested in Learning More?

We recommend reading Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art by James Nestor. "There is nothing more essential to our health and well-being than breathing: take air in, let it out, repeat 25,000 times a day. Yet, as a species, humans have lost the ability to breathe correctly, with grave consequences."

Morning Breathing Tips

Breathing techniques may be new to some. If you’ve never been taught, or trained yourself, to perform any breathing exercises then below is a list of tips that can help beginners get the hang of things quicker:

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