Finding anger management activities for kids that work well is essential when your child has anger management problems. My 10-year-old son has special needs. He has been struggling with his feelings of frustration and anger triggered by our relocation to a new country. We work on anger management and coping skills at home regularly. We are not new to this, but to my surprise, it seems to be working this time!
In today´s post, I will share the anger management strategies we have practiced and some very useful tools like an anger scale for kids, specifically a 5 point scale for anger. These strategies and tools are helping us build some anger management skills for our kids.
- How do I explain to my kid what anger is and its function?
- What does anger look like? How angry am I? Anger Scale for Kids: A 5 Point Scale for Anger
- Anger management activities for kids
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1.How do I explain to my kid what anger is? Why do we feel angry?
Before we start teaching anger management activities for kids, we need to talk to our kids about anger. There are some anger facts that you can explain to your children:
1. Anger is an emotion. When I feel angry I may feel irritable, tense, and anxious. I may also have negative thoughts.
2. Anger is not bad.
3. Anger has a function: your body is telling you that something is bothering you.
4. We all feel angry sometimes. Mum and Dad also feel angry sometimes.
At home, we all share examples of situations in which we have felt angry. And my son just loves Everybody Feels Angry!. I think he can really relate to these kids´stories.
5. We can learn ways that help us control our anger. Sometimes we will need to solve a problem. Some other times we will not be able to fix what is bothering us, or we will not know exactly what is causing these feelings. In those cases, we can still learn ways that help us control our anger.
If you need more ideas on how to explain anger to your child, there is one book that we always use to work on anger management: “What to Do When Your Temper Flares. A Kids Guide to Overcoming Problems With Anger“ by Dawn Hueber. It´s an amazing resource (Winner of 2008 Mom’s Choice Awards Gold Recipient: Self-Improvement). It is a book to be read together with children, with easy examples and metaphors to help kids understand the anger and how it affects them. If I had to choose just one book to work on anger management, this would be the one.
More recommended reading on “Anger Management for Kids”:
2.What does anger look like? How angry am I? Anger Scale for Kids: a 5 Point Scale for Anger.
Our next step has been to talk about the different degrees of anger. To help us express how angry we are (or how happy!), we have used an anger scale for kids. Visual scales are used not only within the scope of special needs but also with children in general. Visual scales or Emotion Charts provide kids with clues that help them express the intensity of an emotion, feeling or sensation (anxiety, anger, pain …)
We have used a 5 Point Scale for anger, and for each level, we discussed how we felt on that specific level (1 happy / 5 extremely angry) and how it showed.
You can read “Emotions Chart: How to Use a Feelings Thermometer Effectively“, for a detailed post on how to get the most out of your emotion charts.
And, if your child has problems identifying anger signs, “How to Teach Kids about Anger Signs” will take you through the most common anger signals using beautiful drawings. It comes with two free downloadable anger worksheets for kids.
3.Anger management activities for kids.
The next step has been talking about all the things we can do when we are at each level. For level 1 and 2, since we are quite happy, we just need to keep on doing whatever is working for us. When it comes to levels 3, 4 and 5, we have been building a menu of anger management activities that will help my kid calm down and control his emotions. The objective is to help him build anger management skills.
17 Anger management activities for kids
(downloadable booklet with visual clues at the end of the list!)
- Ask Mummy for help
Exercises that help us relax (breathing exercises):
- Breathing exercise 1: pretend you are smelling a flower /pretend you are blowing a candle
- Lazy 8 Breathing exercise
- Deep breathing while Mum counts to 10
Exercises that help us relax (relaxation):
- Progressive muscle relaxation exercises (post on this coming soon )
Taking a break from the situation- physical space:
- Moving to a different room from where the problem is happening
- Step out to the garden
- Mum/Dad take me for a walk
Taking a break from the situation- move to a new fun activity:
- Watch a favorite tv program
- Mum tells a story
- Play a game in computer/tablet
- Play board games
Physical activity to burn energy:
- Bounce-on ball
- Run around the couch
- Stop / Think / Do – Stop when you are very angry / Think what alternatives you have to solve the problem / Implement the chosen one
- Start counting (1- 10)
Update August 2018: I´ve just published a new post: “Anger Management for Kids: How to Calm and Angry Kid”. It is a comprehensive review of tips and advice for parents to help kids deal with anger issues. The pdf you will be downloading here has been updated to include:
- 17 anger management activities (with pictograms) recommended in the post you are currently reading +
- 36 Anger Management Tips (from my new post)
You can download booklet HERE or by clicking on the image below:
Books to Help Develop Coping Skills:
“The Coping Skills for Kids Workbook can help teach children to calm down, balance their energy and emotions, and process challenging feelings. Author Janine Halloran, LMHC, shares over 75 innovative, fun and engaging activities developed from her experience in schools, outpatient mental health clinics and as a mother”
This book has amazing reviews (not often you find books in Amazon with only 4 and 5 star customer reviews). Most importantly, some of those reviews have been written by therapist or counselors. Worth considering.
And one last tip. But this one is a money-saving tip! Most items I´ve recommended above are in Amazon Prime list, so they can get delivered to you fast and with FREE shipping. If you are not a member yet, click below for your 30-day free Prime trial.
Coming next in the blog:
2.Breathing techniques: Lazy 8 Breathing– why it has been the only breathing technique that has worked well for us in the past.
Fearing the back-to-school blues, there are really good tips for you in the post “Happy first day of school: how to beat the back-to-school blues”.
See you soon! If you have not downloaded the booklet, you can also subscribe below:
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