Sometimes child thinks holding his breath will get you to do what he asks.
Children will do a lot of things to get a parent's attention, including being helpful, giving hugs and asking questions. However, it's the negative outbursts that sometimes seem to succeed better. Everything from screaming to throwing toys is used on occasion, but the truly creative child takes the drama to a higher level -- he holds his breath. Now, most parents realize that this tactic isn't going to work, since he will eventually have to breathe, but what you might not realize is that in many cases the behavior is more of a reflex than an intentional act.
1Adjust your disciplining style if your child is holding his breath due to his punishment. Fear is one reason your child might be holding his breath, and lessening his fears could stop the behavior. Instead of spanking or scolding him harshly, sit down with him and discuss his wrongdoing. Calmly explain that he needs to be disciplined for what he did, and tell him you are going to have to place him in time out for a few minutes. Reaffirm the reasons for the time out once it is over by saying something like, "Now do you remember what you did wrong?" and then explaining it to him again.
2Eliminate activities from his routine that might put him on edge, and stop any family antics that could create fear. For example, if he has an older sibling that loves taunting him, which might make him nervous, or someone in the family likes jumping out and startling others, put a stop to it. Fear is another reason some toddlers and preschoolers hold their breath.
3Speak calmly to your child and don't overexcite him if he holds his breath due to nerves or fear. You don't want to inadvertently do anything that will trigger the reaction. Keep an eye out for things that might cause your child fear, and prevent the situation if possible. For example, if you are walking in the park, and you notice a large dog ahead, look for an alternate path that you can take if your child is afraid of dogs.
4Ignore the holding-breath act if your child has done it before without passing out. In this case, it is simply an "attention-getter." He either has learned to breathe after a while, which signals that he is growing out of this behavior, or it is all an act and he has no intention of taking it too far. By ignoring the issue, you show him that he will not get your attention for negative behavior. That being said, for safety reasons don't walk away from your child. Instead, ignore him by doing something else in the same vicinity.