Kids naturally experience a wide array of emotions – from excitement to sadness to frustration. While these emotions are part of being human, some of them can be uncomfortable and difficult to feel. The right coping skills for kids can help them work through tough emotions and build resilience.
What are Coping Skills?
Coping skills can be used to process difficult emotions, handle stressful moments, and find solutions for life’s challenges. You might also hear them referred to as coping strategies or coping mechanisms.
Coping skills include a variety of ideas, activities, tools, and habits that cultivate emotional wellness. These skills empower children to respond to emotions and challenges in a constructive, positive way.
A Simple List of Coping Strategies for Kids
It’s always good to have a wide variety of coping skills ready to use at any moment. That’s because kids might find different strategies work better depending on each unique situation they face. If you are looking for ideas and practices to introduce a variety of techniques, check out this 32-page Self-Care Guide for Kids. It is packed with actionable tips and tools to help your child discover their unique coping skills.
Below are a few different challenges and coping strategies that can help. (Even as an adult, you might find a lot of these are pretty helpful for you, too!)
Coping Skills for Anxiety and Stress
When a child experiences racing thoughts, stress, and anxiety, the focus is on helping them relax. Try one of these coping skills:
- Belly breathing to relax the body and mind.
- Start a worry journal (read how they work here).
- Use positive affirmations to help kids overcome fear and feel empowered.
Coping Skills for Sadness
Sadness, discouragement, and grief are very human emotions, but they can also be overwhelming. Here are some ways to help children move through feelings of sadness without repressing these emotions:
- Let them know it’s okay to cry when you feel sad.
- Have children write or draw to express their grief.
- Go on a walk outside with a friend. Nature is soothing, and talking with a friend can help ease the sadness.
- Listen to music, sing songs, or create music with instruments.
Coping Skills for Anger
Anger is a feeling that packs a lot of energy. It can help to find a way to release that energy before talking it out. Here are some coping strategies for kids experiencing anger:
- Please encourage them to safely release the physical energy of excitement: squeeze a stress ball, jump up and down, kick a soccer ball into a goal, or do some push-ups.
- Spend some time in a calm-down corner to relax.
- Draw a picture of what anger looks like.
After they calm down, ask what made them angry and then brainstorm solutions (both goofy and practical).
Preventative Coping Strategies for Kids
It’s important to teach kids that their every day habits can affect how they feel. A healthy mind and body make you feel stronger and ready to face challenges. This alone can prevent problems from feeling so big and overwhelming.
Have kids come up with some ideas for how they can stay healthy and strong. Focus on things like:
- Getting plenty of sleep every night.
- Eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water.
- Having time to play, dance, and move your body every day.
- Spending time with friends and family.
- Having quiet time to rest and relax.
Helping Kids Learn Life Skills
Ready to learn more tools and resources for teaching positive coping strategies? Sign up to join our community to receive newsletters packed with actionable insights and tips. Together, we can help kids be calm, confident, and connected.
Thanks for reading,
Stephanie 🧡 Founder/Owner of Balancing Elephants and creator of the BE Buddy®
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