Breathlessness in children

9) Breathing control exercises and plan

All of the breathing control exercises are different depending on which type of altered breathing pattern is identified.

Each child needs an individualised assessment and breathing control treatment plan.

This is just an example of a personal breathing control plan. Each person is different. You can ask your respiratory team if a breathing control plan would help your child. Specialist respiratory nurses and respiratory physiotherapists are usually the ones to work out your child’s individual plan.

Example of a breathing control plan
You need to do these breathing control exercises regularly. Aim for 5 minutes every hour during the day.
For the first 2 weeks, lie down.

  1. Put one hand on your chest.
  2. Put one hand on your tummy.
  3. Keep your breathing rate as low as possible for age (you need respiratory physiotherapy guidance for your individual rate).
  4. Keep your tidal volume (the amount of airflow in and out of your lungs) low.
  5. Minimise your sighs as much as possible.
Next once you are familiar with the breathing exercises, remain sitting up

  • Carry out steps 1 – 5 as above
Next, do your breathing control exercises as needed throughout the day. Aim to integrate them into your normal activities.
If you get worse or relapse … this is usually due to:

  • Stress.
  • Infection.
  • Exercise.

Go back to the beginning, lying down and carry out steps 1 – 5.