Buteyko & Children

Children can quickly master Buteyko as they learn a special version of the exercises designed to suit their attention capacities. Children from as young as three or four have learned to help their own asthma. The exercises are designed to be easy and enjoyable. The earlier a child starts, the easier it is for them to correct their bad breathing habits.

Learning the Buteyko Method will help your child reduce their drug dependency and asthma attacks in three ways:
Teach them a natural and effective way of overcoming breathlessness, wheeziness or chest tightness

Teach them special exercises which will reduce the frequency and severity of attacks

Teach them to recognise the time when their asthma is getting worse so that they can react positively

As a parent you will learn better asthma management, what signs to look for and what to do when you notice them. The programme also gives insight into the way asthma medication works, how to use it correctly and most effectively.

Tips for Children
Breathing should always be done through the nose. The nose is designed for breathing, it has hairs to filter dust and the special passages warm and moisten the air before it gets into the lungs. It is difficult to hyperventilate when breathing through the nose

Mouth breathing should be discouraged whenever possible because the mouth is not designed for breathing through and allows hyperventilation to become a habit

Encourage children to sleep on their side – when sleeping on the back the mouth usually opens allowing hyperventilation to take place

Some foods make most children breathe more and increase their asthma symptoms: chocolate, milk, cottage cheese, yoghurt, ice cream, nuts, honey, chicken/beef/fish soup, fish, chicken, raspberries, strawberries, Coca Cola, chocolate drinks or any drink with caffeine in it.

It is recommended that these foods be avoided when the child is wheezy or if it seems likely that the child is developing an asthma attack. If the child has asthma chronically (almost all the time) then a dietitian or nutritionist should be consulted to ensure a balanced diet is maintained.

If the child has never eaten chocolate or ice cream then don’t start feeding them these foods. If possible, teach the child that chocolate and ice cream taste horrible and are bad to eat. This may seem a little dramatic, but to some children eating a chocolate bar can be enough to trigger a serious attack

Five points which will give you better control of your child’s asthma:
Keep an asthma diary – the time, activity, possible trigger, etc. when asthma attacks occur

Give your child preventive medicine as prescribed

Keep bronchodilators handy in case of attack

Encourage breathing through the nose at all times and actively discourage deep breathing exercises

Do not allow your child to over eat, particularly just before going to sleep