Do your kids crumble when they are having a meltdown? Do they turn into a puddle when they are overwhelmed? Whether it is anger, anxiety or sadness – many kids have a hard time handling their strong emotions. Coping mechanisms for kids can help with these struggles.
Kids are not born knowing how to handle these strong feelings. It is our job to teach them. We can model it, by showing how we work through our own emotions and we can teach coping mechanisms that work for them.
I recently came across this great book, Coping Skills for Kids Workbook by Janine Halloran. She lists over seventy-five different coping mechanisms for kids. What a resource! Even as a child therapist, I found some new, creative ideas.
I asked the author if I could reprint a few of her many suggestions. Below are 15 coping mechanisms from her book. In her book, she goes into detail about each coping mechanism and how to use it. She also has printable worksheets for kids to do – so they take an active role in creating their own plan. I love it!
Here are 15 coping mechanisms for kids to get started:
1. Deep breathing using bubbles
2. Remember the words to a song you love
3. Calming jar
4. Play with a pet
5. Create a music playlist
6. Write what is bothering you and throw it away
7. Make a comic strip of what happened and what you can do next time
8. Jump rope
10. Make an obstacle course
11. Talk to someone you trust
12. Use positive self-talk
13. Take a shower or a bath
14. Bake or cook
15. Laugh [watch YouTube videos or movies that encourage laughter]
I recommend talking to your children about what activities they would find most useful when they are trying to calm down. Pick a handful of ideas and have them fill out something like this:
When I am upset I can…
When I am upset you can help me by…
Even though this may seem like an obvious thing, all clarity gets lost when a child is in the throes of an emotional meltdown.
You can hang this sheet somewhere your children can see it (in their closet, on their door) as a visual reminder when they need it.
What are your children’s favorite ways to calm down? Do you know someone who can use some ideas on how to help their child calm down? Share this article with them!
Janine Halloran is a Licensed Mental Health Counseling and creator of Coping Skills for Kids. Her book Coping Skills for Kids Workbook is available on Amazon and on her site.