10 anger management activities for kids

By Ashleigh Knowles on Jun 19, 2024.

Fact Checked by Ericka Pingol.

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Anger management therapy for kids

Anger management therapy for kids is the type of therapy that can help children overcome anger and emotional outbursts, and develop healthy coping strategies for more stabilized functioning. Children can better understand the feelings they have, and identify triggers that may provoke anger attacks. Anger management therapy for children can involve a variety of activities that focus on talk therapy and behavioral techniques that allow children to process anger healthily with more positive outcomes. 

Incorporating these activities means you can promote higher engagement, as well as better emotional regulation. Facilitate higher clinical outcomes, and help children reduce anger symptoms and outbursts for greater social development. Regardless of home stresses, school stresses, or learning difficulties, anger management helps children establish goals to effectively manage conflicts and upsetting feelings. Instill kids with the confidence to navigate stressful situations effectively and with ease.

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Exploring why a child feels angry

There is a multitude of reasons why a child may be feeling angry. Anger is a normal emotion that we all experience from time to time, however, it is important to recognize when children are displaying anger in excess.

Many children may experience anger outbursts when they are frustrated, scared, stressed, or disappointed, or when they encounter a situation that they perceive as unfair. It may be in response to another person, especially if they are being bullied by their peers, or it may be a result of life changes. These include moving to a new school or losing a loved one, which can result in increased anger outbursts. In some cases, anger may be a result of deeper mental health challenges, such as mental health disorders or trauma. Children who are a product of abuse may experience feelings of fear and shame, which can easily morph into anger.

It is important to note that children are particularly susceptible to feelings of anger as they do not have the emotional regulation skills of an adult. Children are still developing, so irritability and angry outbursts are not entirely unexpected.

10 anger management activities for kids

To help you get started on the right track, we've compiled a list of the top ten anger management activities for kids to encourage participation and engagement.

Practice breathing

Breathing techniques are a great way to manage and control anger. Breathing slowly and deeply results in a decreased heartbeat and a slowed nervous system. This can inhibit fast and hot reactions and allows the child to think before they speak with a clear head. 

Encourage roleplay

Role-playing is a great way to help children express their emotions, and they can learn how to better navigate situations. Children can learn to become more imaginative and can understand how their actions may affect others. You can act out scenarios the child did not handle well or create new events for the child to work through. Role play is an effective way to increase communication skills.

Have a calm space

Never underestimate the impact of a child's surroundings. Having a calm space allows the children to reflect on their actions and response, and help them calm down after bouts of anger. Be careful not to treat safe spaces as time-out zones, as these are often associated with punishment. Instead, safe spaces should feel peaceful and should alleviate distress.

Draw a scenery or a picture

Some children may prefer to express themselves through art. If this is the case, encourage children to draw what they are feeling, or paint to a certain theme. Whatever you choose, ensure that you have sufficient art supplies for the child to express themselves creatively and freely.

Identify the triggers that cause anger

Managing triggers is an extremely effective way of reducing anger and emotional outbursts. Discuss with the child when they have been angry and work towards identifying specific triggers so that you can come up with solutions that prevent them from escalating.

Give calmness rewards

Anger management is a skill, and does require practice in order to achieve results. Every time your client makes progress, feel free to reward them. This can be through a special treat or trip or a small toy. This encourages the child to keep improving and sustaining efforts and can be a nice way to recognize their achievements.

Make journal entries 

Writing down thoughts can help children reflect on their reactions and how it impacts others. It can also help clear minds and allows children to think before they speak. Children may discover while writing that they could have approached certain situations differently, with the writing assisting children to work through angry emotions in detail.

Introduce emotional vocabulary

Some children tend to lash out because they don't know how to express themselves verbally. As a result, you may find it beneficial to establish an emotional vocabulary for the child to learn. The child can better express and communicate their feelings without the need to hide or undergo intense emotional outbursts.

Practice relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques directly address anger and can help children calm down in a much shorter amount of time. Relaxation techniques encompass a variety of components including deep breathing, muscle group relaxation, or imagination exercises.

Include distracting activities

Sometimes, directly addressing anger can only make matters worse. Use your discretion, however, distraction may be the best way to divert attention from angry feelings. Informing the child that they need to walk away, and taking them out of the situation may be the best way to defuse heightened emotions.

Exploring different ways to respond when your child is angry

Let's be honest - looking after and managing troublesome children can be intensely draining, not to mention frustrating. When your child is angry and having emotional outbursts, it is very easy, and honestly tempting, to retaliate with even more anger. However, this is not productive for either you or your child, and there are various healthy ways that you can respond in these situations.

First, there are some behaviors that can be brushed aside. As a parent, you may feel obligated to punish the child or teach them a lesson whenever they lash out, however, emotional outbursts are usually an indicator of other feelings at work. It may be a sign that your child needs to learn different coping strategies, and that they are struggling to express how they feel. You can certainly be stern with your child, however, sometimes punishment isn't always the answer. Instead, set firm boundaries with compassion. Use a calming presence to de-escalate the situation, and approach with a gentle nature rather than a forceful one. Consider empathizing with your child's emotions, and let them know you understand where they're coming from, even if you disagree. Remember to be patient, and take a few breaths yourself!

Final thoughts

Anger management in children can be a tricky issue to solve. Kids can be temperamental, and very frustrating to deal with at times! However, we hope that these activities have supplied you with ways to approach angry outbursts with compassion and understanding, as well as ways to successfully overcome angry emotions. These activities promote healthy and positive behaviors, reduce emotional outbursts and angry responses, and can alleviate much of the distress that accompanies intense anger. Children can express their emotions honestly, and work towards healthy social relationships with family and peers, which is always a win!

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