Anger Management Activities for Kids

To manage anger in children, parents and teachers have to themselves exemplify good behavior. Conducting certain anger management activities as well as counseling helps too. Read on...
The incidence of anger and violence is increasing in our society today. In the past few years, there have been many incidences wherein school students opened fire at innocents and killed people! These are of course one off cases, yet they do show, to what extent a child can go, if he is not given due attention and care by parents and teachers.

Almost every child gets into a fight with other children once in a while. However, when these incidences start happening every day, when the child displays temper tantrums every now and then, at home and at his school, when every one starts complaining of his aggressive behavior, it's up to the teachers and parents to take this issue seriously.

Before taking steps for anger management in kids, it is important to learn, why kids get angry and behave aggressively in the first place. There are many reasons behind this, the most important being that the communication skills of kids are still underdeveloped so whenever they have to express their feelings about things and situations that they do not like, they get angry. Unfulfilled desires, lack of attention from parents, a disruptive home environment, all these contribute to a child's aggressive behavior. So, in order to manage a child's anger, parents should start with creating a peaceful home environment. They should themselves exemplify such a behavior, which they want their kids to exhibit. Besides this, there are a number of activities which can be undertaken by both parents as well as teachers, to make the kids feel calm and overcome their anger.

Counting Numbers
One of the most useful anger management tips for children that you can teach is to tell them to count numbers 1 to 10, whenever they are angry. If after counting 1 to 10, they still feel angry, tell them to count backwards. This technique diverts the attention of the child and thus, helps him in getting over his anger.

You can conduct this activity in a group or one to one with a kid. Ask the child to close his eyes and relax. Then create a beautiful scene for him verbally. Talk about mountains, rivers, beaches, forests and all beautiful things in nature. Tell him to visualize these as you speak about them. If possible, weave a story around them which a kid can relate to. Visualizing about nature is known to calm the mind and can work wonders.

This ancient Indian discipline comprises exercises and poses which not only make the body fit but mentally relax a person too. Various yoga poses such as the "archer's pose", "cobra pose", "mountain pose", "tree pose", "baby pose", "bowing pose" and "bear pose", if practiced regularly by a child, can build his confidence, improve his concentration, increase his body's flexibility and balance, calm his mind and help him cope with stress. You can get yoga DVDs from the market and make the children follow these or you can arrange for a teacher who can come and take yoga classes and help kids deal with their anger.

Get the kids engaged in some hobby of their choice, be it painting or dancing or singing. Pursuing creative and imaginative hobbies can release the extra energy of the kids, keeping them calm and stress-free throughout the day.

Conduct role plays for them wherein the adults enact certain real life scenarios for them and teach the kids what to say, how to react when faced with a particular situation rather than getting angry and all worked up about it. Role plays can include situations like "what to do when you are unable to open a box of sweets", "how to react if someone else won a contest and you lost it", etc.

There should be a regular routine of exercising every day. Researches have shown that exercising everyday releases a hormone named "serotonin" which acts as a mood enhancer. So, kids can benefit a lot from undertaking any of the sports, be it football or basketball or regular exercises such as cycling, walking, running or swimming.

There are certain games that can be played with a group of children that will help them cope with their anger. Here is one of such games that is designed in a way that teaches them how to put words to their feelings. Place an object in a closed box and then call any two children. Ask one of them to touch the object and describe it to the other. The other one has to guess what the object is. Likewise, the game is played with all the children in the group. After this, tell the children that explaining your feelings with words rather than actions when angry, will put their point across. Teach the kids some new words by using which they can express how they feel when they are angry.

If the child is prone to violent outbursts, then along with the different anger management activities, counseling should be undertaken. Sometimes, if a child is unable to share his feelings and emotions with his parents, a counselor can help him in expressing these as well as teach him ways to overcome anger.

If these techniques start showing positive results i.e. the child learns how to curb his anger and remain calm in most situations, teachers and parents should appreciate and reward the child. Positive re-enforcement always works wonders when it comes to children! Good parenting, love and care, appreciation as well as the activities suggested above, all these can help a child manage his anger and use his feelings constructively.
By Aastha Dogra
Published: 3/14/2011
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