Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Possibilities Book

I got this idea from my coworker.  The goal of the project is to help a child with a traumatic past or who is struggling in the present to focus on and set goals for the future.

You will need to provide the child with some kind of scrapbook or journal.  Using magazines, pictures from the internet, photos, etc, the child can start building an album of their future: what kind of job (s)he wants, the car (s)he wants to drive, his/her dream house, how many kids (s)he wants, his/her dream career, and so forth. 

This is a project that can be drawn out over a long period of time and can be used as a tool to open up discussion.

Here are some affordable items you can use to get started:

Coping Skills Box

A Coping Skills Box is a box in which the client can keep items that can help him or her cope with anger, disappointment, sadness, and so on.

You can use a shoe box or purchase a plain box and allow your client to decorate and personalize his/her box, using items such as construction paper, scissors, glue, stickers, photos, magazines to cut pictures out of, glitter, etc.

While the client decorates the box, you may want to discuss what a coping skill is, if the client does not already know.  You will need to get to know your client and what works for him or her as a coping skill before you can  begin filling the box.What you put in the box depends upon the age of the client.  Suggestions for items to put in the coping skills box:
  •  Coping Skills Flashcards
  • Crayons/markers
  • Pens/pencils
  • Journal or spiral notebook
  • Cards/stationary to write letters on and envelopes
  • Coloring book/sketch pad
  • Positive and uplifting books
  • Photos/pictures that are calming to the client
  • Deck of playing cards
  • Squishy ball or other object to squeeze
  • MP3 player/CDs
  • List of phone numbers for family members/friends who can offer support
  • Puzzle book (crossword, word search, Sodoku, etc.)  
  • Bubbles

Here are some items you and your client may need to decorate the box:


Here are some affordable items you may want to include in your your box, depending upon the age and gender of your client:




Monday, August 27, 2012

Teaching Children Deep Breathing

The following exercise can be printed out and used to help children learn how to use deep breathing as a coping skill.

Deep Breathing Exercise

Deep breathing can help you to feel better when you are angry or nervous.  You can control your body and your feelings by taking deep breaths when you start to feel upset.  You can do this anywhere, and nobody will even notice! 

Just like you have to practice to get good at anything else, you also have to practice deep breathing to get good at it.  Practice deep breathing by following these steps:

1.  Make sure you are sitting up straight with your feet down to
    make deep breathing easier.
2.  Breathe in through your nose very slowly and very deeply.
3.  Breathe out through your mouth, very slowly.
4.  Do this a total of five times.

How did the deep breathing make you feel?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Feelings Word Search and Crossword Puzzles

These word puzzles can be used as an activity for a child to do to increase vocabulary about feelings.  Even if just used to keep a child busy, these word puzzles will increase their awareness about feelings.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Worksheets for Showing and Coping with Emotions

These worksheets can be completed with children to help them identify how they show their feelings and explore how they can cope.

Coping Skills Flashcards

With the population I work with, identifying and remembering to utilize coping skills can be a problem.  I have created "Coping Skill Flashcards" for my clients.  I created my flashcards in Microsoft Word, and I put different words and pictures on each card to represent coping skills.  I hole-punch the cards in the upper-left corner and then put them on a loose-leaf ring. 

I chose pictures that were black and white drawings so that my clients can color them. While they color them, we discuss what coping skills are (ie, "A coping skill is something you can do to help yourself deal with anger, sadness, or other feelings or problems you may have").  We then explore what coping skills they currently utilize that are negative (ie, hitting and yelling), and then we discuss the coping skills that are on the cards.  You may also want to include a few blank cards so that they can add their own coping skills.

This project is not limited only to emotionally-disturbed children.  This can even be used with your own children at home to teach them positive coping skills.