Some coping skills to help kids deal with difficult emotions and situations are developing a vocabulary of words for their feelings, taking a break to perform calming activities, learning the warning signs of negative emotions, and practicing breathing techniques. It is also helpful for parents to seek appropriate professional help, such as a therapist or tutor, for their children, as this teaches them when to turn to others for help.
Children sometimes act out their tough emotions in inappropriate ways because they lack the vocabulary to express those feelings verbally. For example, a child may resort to hitting others, screaming or throwing objects when angry if he does not know how to express his frustration with words such as "furious," "frustrated," "ticked off" or "irate." Parents and educators can assist children in creating posters full of vocabulary words they can use when they are experiencing various emotions.
Another way children can prepare for difficult situations is to create a list of activities they already engage in when they want to feel good. They may feel good when riding a bicycle, talking to a friend on the phone or reading a book. Stepping away from an upsetting situation to engage in one of these activities is a helpful coping strategy to develop. This technique is especially effective if they also learn the early signs that they are becoming upset, such as a racing heartbeat, fist clenching or talking louder than normal.