Kitchen: “I Am Safe” Breathing Card
How to Use the “I Am Safe” Breathing Card in the Kitchen
Active calming is an essential life skill, the key to the Power of Perception, and the prerequisite for self-regulation. S.T.A.R. stands for Smile, Take a deep breath And Relax. Three deep belly breaths help to shut off the fight, flight, or freeze response in the body. Taking deep belly breaths with a child sounds like this, “You’re safe. Breathe with me. You can handle this. Take a deep breath in through your nose.” (Count slowly, 1-2-3-4.) “Now let the air out through your mouth.” (Count slowly, 1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8.) Counting helps you meet the goal of making the exhale twice as long as the inhale.
Watch to see if the child’s belly is moving (rather than just the shoulders). If the belly isn’t moving, the breathing is shallow and ineffective. When Sophie first learned to S.T.A.R. breathe, Dad helped her be successful by providing tools that offer visual feedback like the S.T.A.R. Breathing Tool, blowing bubbles and breathing with a stuffed animal balanced on her tummy.
Sophie’s mom and dad incorporate S.T.A.R. and other active calming techniques into their daily activities. They’ve also placed the I Am Safe Breathing Cards like this one and printouts of the free downloadable Safe Place Breathing Icons from the Free Resources Toolkit around the house to help everyone remember to breathe. Each I Am Safe Breathing Card is printed with helpful steps for active calming on one side, and the S.T.A.R. icon and “I am safe” affirmation on the other side.