Life is full of unexpected challenges and triggers, big and small. Sometimes, these situations can lead to anger. This can be a very unpleasant emotion that is difficult to handle, especially for kids.
Fortunately, there are some positive aspects that can come out of the obstacles that can cause anger. These are opportunities for growth as children learn how to manage their emotions. With the guidance of parents and guardians, anger management activities for kids can certainly help teach children skills for processing and handling their emotions.
Here are 8 anger management activities for kids that can do wonders:
Anger Management Activities for Kids
Activities are an excellent way for children to learn how to manage their anger. By giving them something creative or stimulating to do, it becomes possible to break down this complex emotion into more feasible steps. Here are some anger management activities for kids that you can try:
1. Where anger lives in your body
Finding out how physically intense anger can really be is the first step in understanding it. As adults, we may agree that there are several ways that anger appears in our lives.
When discussing this with children, talk about the body's "anger signals." When your child learns to recognize their body's angry cues, it's a sign that it's time to change direction. You can easily engage your child in this discussion by showing them helpful worksheets that can explain how anger affects the brain and body. This will allow them to understand where the emotion “lives” in their mind and body so that they can have a better grasp of the feeling.
2. Draw a picture
Encourage the mind-body connection by asking your child to sketch a picture of their angry body parts. Kids should first draw the contours of their bodies, then color in the regions where they feel angry. With this game, kids can use their creative muscles while you listen to them describe the drawing they make. Children will often point to their mouths, heads, hands, and feet as the locations where anger manifests.
Help your child become aware of the cues that their bodies signal when they are becoming angry. Recognizing these warning signs can encourage children to use an appropriate coping mechanism and calm down before anger takes over. Additionally, this game is one of those creative anger management activities that allow parents to understand their child's anger and how they process it.
3. Personify the anger
We all experience anger, but it doesn't have to rule our lives. It is a strong emotion that frequently makes children feel overpowered and uneasy.
Externalizing a problem or issue is a method that can be used with children. If your child is having trouble controlling their anger in healthy ways, giving it a name and a visual representation will help them to distinguish between their personality and their anger issues.
Tell your child something straightforward like, "It looks like anger has been causing you lots of stress lately. Let's name your emotion and create a picture of what you imagine it to look like.” Your child can solve problems and understand angry situations more easily when they can identify that the issue exists outside themselves.
4. Anger Charades
Sometimes games for anger management can help kids the most. In this exercise, kids learn how to comprehend what rage looks and feels like so that they can start expressing their emotions in a healthy way. Anger charades will highlight particular anger-related behaviors.
First, create three columns on a piece of paper. Talk about what rage “looks like,” “feels like,” and “sounds like” for each. For instance, rage can make you feel flushed, have pinched eyebrows, and yell. Act out the many behaviors you can think of to make the conversation entertaining! By asking your child to predict the behavior you are modeling and vice versa, you can turn this activity into a charades game.
Have your child act out situations that make them angry in order to increase their emotional awareness. Tell your child that you experience difficulties from time to time, too. You can also assure them that the ability to feel angry is okay. However, do make sure to discuss or role-play in the game that there are appropriate and inappropriate methods to exhibit anger.
5. Identifying levels of anger
Another thing you can do is help your child in expressing their anger by going through its various levels. Using a kid-friendly anger scale can help children in expressing their anger. Kids can use visual scales or emotion charts like our anger thermometer to represent the degree of emotion, mood, or sensation that they feel.
6. Anger iceberg
Anger is a complex emotion, and the more your child understands how it works, the better equipped they will be to manage it. Anger often acts like a shield or a cover for other intense emotions.
Anger is easier to experience compared to more complex emotions, like guilt, embarrassment, or hurt. These feelings may be hiding underneath and can be represented by the metaphor of an anger iceberg. Using an anger iceberg worksheet can help illustrate this further for children.
In this activity, we see how children experience things, feel emotions, and experience stressors every day that are hidden from what parents, guardians, teachers, or even peers see. They can be asked to consider the different feelings and events that happened throughout their day (or week), and then write these down beneath the anger iceberg.
You may help your child in overcoming their emotions and resolving difficult situations as they become aware of their feelings and stressors when doing this activity.
7. Create a calm-down space
Anger management activities don’t have to be complicated. You can do something as simple as creating a safe space for your child to retreat to when they need a break.
For kids to feel like their needs are being met, having a chill zone or quiet-down area is extremely beneficial. In school and at home, chill zones can create an atmosphere of care and support. Stress balls, glitter jars, and soft stuffed animals are just a few examples of relaxing objects that are often found in cool-down spaces.
The calm-down space is a much better substitute for traditional "time-outs" and can encourage reflection as well. Give your child the freedom to decorate their calm-down space with whichever items soothe them.
8. Breathing activities
Learning to control one's breathing to calm down is one of the best and simplest anger management techniques that children can learn. When their emotions are heightened, taking deep breaths can help the mind and body shift gears. Children can think more clearly and rationally if they slow down their breathing and heart rate.
Kids can also remove their attention from anything upsetting by concentrating on their breath. There are many breathing exercises that a child can choose from, including belly breathing, figure 8 breathing, and bear embrace breathing.
You can also include things like bubbles, feathers, or stuffed animals to make breathing activities more engaging. Children can practice blowing on a feather or slowly blowing bubbles. They can also lay on their backs with a plush animal on their tummy, allowing their deep belly breaths to raise and lower it.
The Bottom Line
Anger is difficult and scary to handle, but it is possible to help your child manage it. It is essential to help a child develop their emotional self-control. Their future happiness, achievement, and well-being are greatly influenced by how well they can manage their emotions, especially anger.
These kid-friendly techniques for managing rage can be completed quickly and with just a few materials. However, do not hesitate to reach out to a mental health professional if you need help with managing your child’s anger.