Coping Skills for Children

by Annette Hernandez, Ph. D., Clinical Psychologist

A large part of the therapeutic work I do involves teaching young kids how to cope with intense feelings (i.e. anger, fear, etc.). While my training in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) gave me the basic skills in teaching relaxation skills, I struggled with figuring out how to modify these skills for very young children. Fortunately, experience (including my own parenting) and a little creativity has helped me to develop ways to make coping skills understandable and developmentally appropriate for this age group. In my last blog, I talked about labeling feelings and provided links for Feelings Charts that parents can incorporate into their daily lives. Colorful charts and graphic representations go a long way in illustrating skills practice for kids. In this entry, I will talk more about specific coping skills such as deep breathing and progressive muscle relaxation. Continue reading