Anger is a complex and difficult emotion for young children to deal with so having an awareness of anger management as an adult can really help. We need to help children learn how to recognise, talk about and manage their anger: not while they’re angry, but while they’re calm and happy in order to give them tools they can put to use when they really need them.
These free cards are available in Brazilian-Portuguese, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Icelandic, Romanian, Spanish and Swedish.
There is no ‘one right solution’ for anger management in children, as what works for one child may not work for another. That’s why learning how to calm themselves may be quite a long-term project, it takes time to try different methods and ideas.
Also, the level of anger may change the effectiveness of a strategy. For example, if they are just a little angry stopping for a cool drink might be effective, but if it’s a full-blown tantrum this might mean the drink is thrown across the room and they may manage better with a small, quiet, private space where they can talk to or cry with their favourite teddy.
3 simple steps toward anger management
Identify their own emotions
In order to deal with anger it’s important for children to learn to differentiate between their own varying emotions, and the intensity of their feelings. Pop over to 10 Activities and 10 You Tube Songs to Explore Emotions for a good roundup of ideas. It’s one of the most popular posts on this site. If you’d like to use an emotions song based on 5 Little Ducks there’s a free video and lyrics sheet you can download here.
The level of intensity is also important. Children need to learn to recognise their own anger as it’s building to give them time to implement a strategy and calm themselves. Many suggest using an emotional thermometer. I have included a copy of this graphic in with the calming strategy cards download in case you find it helpful and would like to use it.
2. Teach calming strategies
During periods when your child is calm spend time reading about and talking about anger and other emotions, the effects they have and how we can learn ways to prevent ourselves from becoming really angry.
3. Practice, practice, practice
It’s great to practice these strategies while your child is calm or in a good mood, but it’s most important to actually see if they help during periods of mild to acute anger. What sounds like a good idea when you’re happy, may not work so well when temper rises. Be prepared to try different methods over a long period till you find a couple of strategies that seem to be the most effective for you.
Using these calming strategies cards
- talk to children about feelings of anger and different options that are available for cooling down
- prompt children to decide what strategies might suit them best, or what they’d like to try first
- remind or encourage angry children to make use of their chosen strategies
- remember: you or your child might think of other methods you’d like to try that aren’t included here!
After your child has decided what strategies they’d like to try, put those strategy cards somewhere nearby for an emergency reminder. If you have another strategy you want to use, write it on one of the spare blank cards and draw a related picture as a prompt.
Download these English 23 free calming strategy cards HERE.
- Brazilian-Portuguese: Thanks go to clinical psychologist Mariana Rebello for this translation.
- You can connect with Mariana on her website here.
- Estonian: Thanks go to Riinika for this translation.
- You can connect with Riinika on the Estonian Teaching Community Facebook page.
- Finnish: Thanks go to Sanna Hemnell for this translation.
- French: Thanks go to Cécile Delrieu for this translation.
- You can request to join Cécile’ s facebook group here.
- German: Thanks go to Bettina Markones for this translation.
- You can connect with Bettina on her website KinderFocusing.
- Icelandic: Thanks go to Linda Ósk Sigurðardóttir for this translation.
- You can connect with Linda on Instagram.
- Romanian: Thanks go to Ana-Caterina Bedivan for this translation.
- Spanish: Thanks go to Marina Griñón for this translation. LARGE SPANISH PACK.
- Marina collaborates on a Spanish blog focused on autism. You can connect with Marina at El sonido de la hierba al crecer.
- Swedish: Thanks go to Sanna Hemnell (again!) for this translation.