Coping Skills for Kids: 8 Effective Exercises to Practice

By Quinn Weisensee, LAC | March 08, 2024

We all need coping skills to help us through the ups and downs of our lives, so it is important to have a well-equipped toolbox! Coping skills can be anything from exercise to deep breathing, depending on the need. Learning to listen to our bodies about what we need is a skill that will go a long way! Parents can help children by teaching them how to identify their physical and emotional needs so that they can know which coping skills may help them in a moment of dysregulation.

Here are 8 options for coping skills that may be useful for your child!

1. Exercise/movement

  • Walking, biking, jumping, swimming, or getting the body moving helps with processing and regulation (Sussex Publishers, n.d.)

2. Mindful stretching

  • This helps with slowing down and noticing what the body is experiencing. It helps with control and with noticing where tension might be held in the body.
  • Here is a YouTube video to help practice this skill https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0_KxGuaSBQ

3. Art project

  • Art is a great way to express feelings and there are many different mediums of art. This could be dance, painting, pottery, knitting, and more (Klammer, n.d.).

4. Deep breathing

5. Deep pressure

  • This is a great way to relax the body! This can be done by using weighted blankets, bear hugs, being wrapped in a blanket like a burrito, massage, etc. (Harkla, n.d.)

6. Music

  • Music is a powerful tool for regulation. Binaural beats are a type of music specifically designed to calm the nervous system (Psychology Today, n.d.).

7. Smelling good smells

  • Scent is a great tool to use for grounding. Choose a calming essential oil and put it on your wrist when you need an extra boost to re-regulate.

8. Progressive muscle relaxation

  • This is a good one if you are holding a lot of tension, as it provides an opportunity to relax (Cleveland Clinic, 2023).
  • Here is a YouTube video to help practice this skill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nZEdqcGVzo

Recommended Reads

Little boy and girl playing hide and seek in nature
Hide-and-Seek Play: Benefits and Risks
Hide-and-seek play can have many benefits and risks. It can be used as a positive tool in therapy, but...
Read More
Parents playing with children, throwing toy airplanes while camp
5 Tips for a Super Summer
While summertime brings excitement, we know that is far from dreamy for many families. Here’s 5 tips...
Read More

We all need coping skills to help us through the ups and downs of our lives, so it is important to have a well-equipped toolbox! Coping skills can be anything from exercise to deep breathing, depending on the need. Learning to listen to our bodies about what we need is a skill that will go a long way! Parents can help children by teaching them how to identify their physical and emotional needs so that they can know which coping skills may help them in a moment of dysregulation.

Here are 8 options for coping skills that may be useful for your child!

1. Exercise/movement

  • Walking, biking, jumping, swimming, or getting the body moving helps with processing and regulation (Sussex Publishers, n.d.)

2. Mindful stretching

  • This helps with slowing down and noticing what the body is experiencing. It helps with control and with noticing where tension might be held in the body.
  • Here is a YouTube video to help practice this skill https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0_KxGuaSBQ

3. Art project

  • Art is a great way to express feelings and there are many different mediums of art. This could be dance, painting, pottery, knitting, and more (Klammer, n.d.).

4. Deep breathing

5. Deep pressure

  • This is a great way to relax the body! This can be done by using weighted blankets, bear hugs, being wrapped in a blanket like a burrito, massage, etc. (Harkla, n.d.)

6. Music

  • Music is a powerful tool for regulation. Binaural beats are a type of music specifically designed to calm the nervous system (Psychology Today, n.d.).

7. Smelling good smells

  • Scent is a great tool to use for grounding. Choose a calming essential oil and put it on your wrist when you need an extra boost to re-regulate.

8. Progressive muscle relaxation

  • This is a good one if you are holding a lot of tension, as it provides an opportunity to relax (Cleveland Clinic, 2023).
  • Here is a YouTube video to help practice this skill: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nZEdqcGVzo

Recommended Reads

Smiling mother and little adopted child daughter painting together, lying floor. Mom or babysitter helps preschooler kid girl to draw with pencils.
Sharing Details at the Correct Moment
There are times and places to tell your child parts of his or her story. Never hide anything, but make...
Read More
The Holidays can be hard for kids with trauma.
How can holidays Impact Children with Trauma?
Kids do not always use their words. Often, they express their needs and emotions with behaviors. These...
Read More

References

100 art therapy exercises – the updated and Improved list. The Art of Emotional Healing by Shelley Klammer. (n.d.). https://www.expressiveartworkshops.com/expressive-art-resources/100-art-therapy-exercises/

Binaural beats | psychology Today. (n.d.). https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/binaural-beats

Cleveland Clinic. (2023, December 18). Relax your way to better sleep (and more). https://health.clevelandclinic.org/progressive-muscle-relaxation-pmr

Harkla. (n.d.). The Ultimate Guide to Deep Pressure therapy. https://harkla.co/blogs/special-needs/deep-pressure-therapy#:~:text=Increases%20In%20Endorphins%20and%20Neurotransmitters,and%20help%20with%20mood%20regulation.

Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). One incredibly easy way to improve your emotional regulation. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201604/one-incredibly-easy-way-improve-your-emotional-regulation

References

100 art therapy exercises – the updated and Improved list. The Art of Emotional Healing by Shelley Klammer. (n.d.). https://www.expressiveartworkshops.com/ expressive-art-resources/100-art-therapy-exercises/

Binaural beats | psychology Today. (n.d.). https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/ basics/binaural-beats

Cleveland Clinic. (2023, December 18). Relax your way to better sleep (and more). https://health.clevelandclinic.org/progre ssive-muscle-relaxation-pmr

Harkla. (n.d.). The Ultimate Guide to Deep Pressure therapy. https://harkla.co/blogs/special-needs/deep-pressure-therapy#:~:text=Increases%20In%20End orphins%20and%20Neurotransmitters, and%20help%20with%20mood%20regu lation.

Sussex Publishers. (n.d.). One incredibly easy way to improve your emotional regulation. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us /blog/the-athletes-way/201604/one-incredibly-easy-way-improve-your-emotional-regulation