Creating Crisis/Coping Kits with Your Child — Part 2
In my previous post, I talked about how to start creating a coping kit with your child, beginning with store-bought items. These are relatively inexpensive and easy to find. The coping kits are extremely customizable depending on your child’s interests and needs. Below are some ideas for materials you can make with your child as a fun activity or (probably much needed) one-on-one bonding time.
- When I Feel Cards — this template offers space for your child to fill in the blanks for each emotion. For example, “when I feel upset, I need: (1) to distract myself, (2) a hug, and (3) to take a walk. You can support me by: (1) asking me what’s wrong, (2) offering to listen to how I feel, and (3) spending time with me.”
- Self-Affirmation Cards — find some plain or colorful blank flashcards and ask your child to put one positive statement about themselves on each card. These could include “I’m a good friend”, “I am creative”, or “I am fun to be around.”
- “Coping-Catcher” Game — if you’ve got paper and colored pencils, you can do this activity. All you need is to fold the paper along the guidelines and fill in the blanks! When you unfold each tab, it reveals a coping skill that your child can use. Adapt it to include a variety for your child whether they are at home, school, or extracurricular activities.
- Embroidery Thread — maybe the fad of string friendship bracelets has faded out, but it is still a great coping skill! Embroidery thread is sold at most craft stores, like Michael’s and you can visit this website to learn patterns varying in difficulty level. This re-focuses the mind and requires hand movement, which doubles as a fidget activity (but you get a cool bracelet or keychain at the end!).
- Mood Tracker — help your child recognize their triggers by including a mood tracker in their coping kit. You can find templates here for anger or here for worry or anxiety.
- Support System — even though your child may know they can come to you when they aren’t feeling their best, it’s nice to have a little reminder of all of the people who love them. If your child is old enough to be able to make phone calls to family or friends, encourage them to also add contact information for these people so they can easily call their loved one for support if needed.
If your child ever struggles with anger, sadness, communication, expressing/regulating emotion, or compliance — and I’d be surprised if I had a parent tell me their child never has these challenges — then this is a fun and useful activity to work on with them. I also suggest developing multiple coping kits: one to keep at home, as well as one to bring in the car or in your child’s backpack for school. And you can add in different items for each type of kit (maybe bubbles at school would not be practical, but a few sensory stress-relieving objects would work for in class or at lunch!).
There are of course so many benefits of creating these kits. It shows your child that it is okay to have emotions, as long as we practice healthy ways of handling them. It also teaches and reminds your child that you are a team, you are their biggest fan, and you are there to support them and help guide them through life.
What are some of your child’s favorite coping skills? Let us know!
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