Five things you can do to help children cope

Five things you can do to help children cope during challenging or worrying situations,

1. Listen and talk

  • Help children identify their concerns or worries; and
  • acknowledge how they are feeling.
    • For example, you could say, “it sounds like you’re really worried about who you will play with at school tomorrow.”

2. Provide reassurance and comfort

  • There may be times when children don’t want to talk and just having a parent or carer nearby engaging in a shared activity or giving them a cuddle is helpful.
  • Reassure children when they are feeling worried or unsure.
    • For example, you could say, “it is a big playground but there is an area for just the little kids to play.”

3. Model ways that you cope with situations

  • Demonstrate how you cope with a situation,
    • for example, you could say, “I am going to take five deep breaths to help myself relax.”

4. Encourage children to ask for help

  • Teach children that it is okay to ask for help when they need it.
    • For example, asking a teacher for help to open their lunch box.

5. Problem-solve the situation with them

  • Work with them to solve a problem using a step-by-step process.
    • For example, you can break down a big task into smaller steps and
    • guide them to build their skills so they can eventually complete the whole task on their own.

Helping children managing strong emotions

  • When faced with difficult or challenging situations children can feel:
    • angry,
    • worried or
    • perhaps distressed.
  • It can be hard for children to think clearly at these times, and it makes communication and cooperation difficult.
  • If your child is experiencing a strong emotion, it’s important to acknowledge it and be nearby to support your child.
  • You may also consider teaching your child strategies to calm themselves. Some suggestions include:
  • counting to ten
  • taking five deep breaths
  • jumping on the trampoline
  • going to a quiet place
  • playing with toys.

Source: APS initiative, KidsMatter @

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