A big part of what we do with children is teach them safe and appropriate ways to cope and express themselves. We aren’t born knowing how to walk and we also aren’t born knowing how to deal with our emotions, solve problems, or handle disappointments. We learn to walk by someone holding our hands and guiding the process. We learn to calm ourselves as our parents hold, rock, soothe, and eventually teach us ways to calm ourselves on our own.
I encourage the children I work with to identify multiple coping and expression skills that work for them personally in various situations. The more they have in their toolbox that personally work for them the better.
This is one fun way to help children remember the skills that they have identified and realize that they have a choice of which skill to use in each situation. For example, walking outside may help with frustrations at home but cannot be done at school so another skill needs to be used instead, such as taking deep breaths or imagining a safe place.
1) Take two paper plates and cut out a small triangle towards the middle of one plate.
2) spin the plate and write the skills in each section of the second plate that is exposed in the section that was cut out.
3) insert a paper fastener so the plate can spin and reveal the skills.
4) decorate any way you like!
These work great to have available in a calm down area or in a coping skill box at home or in the classroom.
Another fun way to use the wheel is to act out social situations with puppets or role plays and use the wheel to choose which skill to use given the situation. This helps children learn to choose skills that best suit the setting and get more practice using them!
And for all you lovely grown ups out there devoting your time to help children grow and heal, make your OWN wheel of coping skills and never forget to take care of yourself too. 🙂