6-yr-old expertly coaches his little brother through a tantrum-ending breathing exercise

Anyone who has raised children knows that helping kids navigate their emotions is a big part of the job. Humans have feelings, and feelings can be hard to manage sometimes. Heck, when a whole mess of adults have a hard time consistently regulating their emotions (as evidenced by countless grownups throwing toddler tantrums in public over being asked to wear a mask, among other things), expecting small children to be able to get a hold of themselves is a tall order.

That's what makes this 6-year-old expertly walking his 4-year-old brother through a breathing exercise to fend off a preschool tantrum pure, golden goodness.

Ashley West, a California mom of three boys, shared a video that's gone viral of her son Noah (6) talking to his brother Cory (4), who was on the verge of throwing a fit. Truly, it's worth the 21 seconds.


The way Noah coaches Cory through taking deep breaths, giving him visual cues with his hands while modeling the breathing himself is perfect. The way he gets his attention when Cory starts ramping up by raising his fingers and calmly saying "Breathe," before continuing to breathe with him is just awesome.

And then the positive reinforcement and pat on the back once he calmed down? Priceless.

It's clear that Noah has seen these techniques modeled for him at home. West told Upworthy that she is studying to become a social worker, so she has a lot of background in social-emotional work. (Yay, social workers! Pay them more!) She says the family also does a lot of yoga together, which helps explain why Noah's efforts seemed almost automatic.

West explained on Twitter that Cory was upset because the Nintendo had just gotten plugged in and wasn't charged enough to play yet—a relatable psychological challenge for a young child. But Noah stepped right in when the meltdown began.

"Y'all would've LOST it had I recorded it from the very beginning," she said. "My baby was all 'I understand the pain, I do, but you just have to wait, it's not done yet."

Gracious. Nothing like a master class in empathy and emotional regulation from a 6-year-old child.

Once you see it, it's clear why this video has gone viral. The world needs more emotionally healthy kids and adults in the world, and we all know it. While West says she's not a perfect parent and doesn't have all the answers, it's clear that she's doing a lot of things right with her kids.

It may seem like a simple thing, but intentional breathing can be an effective calming technique no matter what age you are. According to the University of Michigan, taking deep breaths mimics the way we breathe when we're relaxed, which makes our body tell our brain to calm down, which prompts our brain to sends a message back to our body to relax.

However, when your brain and body are in a heightened state, it can be hard to remind yourself to breathe, so having someone there to guide you through it can be helpful. My son went through a period of having panic attacks when he was younger, and we would do "box breathing" or "square breathing" together. I'd slowly draw an imaginary square in the air with my fingers, and we'd breathe in together as my finger went up one side (about five seconds), hold our breath as it went across the top, breathe out as it went down the other side, and then hold the exhale to complete the square. After a while, I'd just remind him to "box breathe" whenever he'd feel anxious, and he could do the square himself.

Good for Noah for already developing such excellent skills at such a young age, and good for his mom for giving him emotional tools he'll use for the rest of his life.

Now if we could just hire them to go around and teach the adults how to get a hold of themselves when they start pitching a fit, that'd be fabulous.

When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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