Finding anger management activities for kids that work well is essential when your child (or one of your students) has anger management problems. This post is for you if you have been asking yourself some of these questions: How do I teach my child to control his anger? What activities could teach him/her some coping skills for anger? How do I deal with an angry student?
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 we are currently getting our best results ever.
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 you explain to your kid what anger is and its function?
- How angry am I? Emotion Charts / Anger Scales for Kids: A 5 Point Scale for Anger
- Anger management activities for kids
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1. How do you explain to your 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 for you to read with your child. It provides 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. How angry am I? Emotion Charts / Anger Scales for Kids: a 5 Point Scale for Anger.
Your next step should be to help your child express anger and to talk about the different degrees of anger.
In order to help our children express how angry they are (or how happy!), we use 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 use a 5 Point Scale for anger, and for each level, we discuss how we felt on that specific level (1 happy / 5 extremely angry) and how it shows.
I believe this step is a very important part of a successful anger management intervention. If you want to learn how to use emotion charts effectively I recommend you read my post: “Emotions Chart: How to Use a Feelings Thermometer Effectively“. In that post, I give suggestions on how to use this tool and some ideas on how to approach an “action plan” with your kid (or student). You will also be able to download two feelings thermometer templates.
Also, if your child or student 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 will be to brainstorm and discuss all the things you can do when you are at each level of the scale.
For levels 1 and 2, since your kids are quite happy, they just need to keep on doing whatever is working for them.
When it comes to levels 3, 4 and 5, you need to build a menu of anger management activities that will help your kids calm down and control their emotions. The objective is to help them build anger management skills.
An important tip: Remember to practice the anger management activities you have chosen when your kids are calm and happy. You will not be able to teach them to “stop, think and solve” (just an example) in the middle of a tantrum. They need to start to automate that sequence in a happy context.
The list below is our own list. You are welcome to download our “17 Anger Management Activities for Kids” booklet (it comes with visual clues/ pictograms!). You will see the link at the end of the post.
17 Anger management activities for kids
- 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 (detailed explanation of this technique in my post Breathing techniques: Lazy 8 Breathing)
- 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 about what alternatives you have to solve the problem / Implement the chosen one
- Start counting (1- 10)
Relevant related reading: “Anger Management for Kids: How to Calm an Angry Kid” is my latest post on how to help an angry child. It is a comprehensive review of tips and advice for parents to help kids deal with anger issues. When you download your Anger Management Activities / Calming Down Activity Cards you will also have access to that post´s PDF.
You can download your anger management activity cards by clicking HERE ⇐
WOULD YOU LIKE TO TURN ANGER MANAGEMENT FOR KIDS INTO A SUPER FUN ACTIVITY?
Check out my post Anger Games: Super Fun Ways to Learn Anger Management Skills
Other Resources 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.
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