Coping Skills

Basics:
Simple ways to support your young child's coping skills

1. Promote emotional exploration and expression:
  • Play (e.g., provide your child with a baby doll with accessories and a family of small plastic animals that matches the composition of your family (for example, a mom, dad, and two children). 
  • Literature (provide books and read aloud stories about children dealing with a variety of difficult feelings and how they successfully address those feelings). 
  • Visual arts (provide basic art supplies such a sclay, pain, crayons, play dough, etc.)
  • Music (provide opportunities for your child to listen to music).
  • Dance (encourage your child to explore movement).
2. Engage your child in activities that will help develop impulse control, tolerance of frustration (i.e., patience), empathy and respect for others:
  • Games such as "Red Light/Green Light", and "Simon Says" are great skiill builders.
  • Baking cookies teaches patience.
  • Board games demand normous patience, as well as respect for others.
  • Literature that touches on these skills may also be useful.
3. Implement "Special Time":
  • 3-4 times a week
  • 15-20 minute sessions
  • One parent (or the other) devotes all of his/her attention to the child and follows the child's lead in whatever (appropriate) activity the child is interested in at that time (e.g. playing make believe, going to the park, rough housing, reading a story, making play dough, etc.)
  • No interruptions or distractions from siblings or ELECTRONICS allowed.
4. Maintain "Healthy Habits":
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule to ensuer your child receives adequate rest.
  • Provide a healthy, well balanced diet
  • Encourage daily physical activity.
Nancy Herse Sedlack, Ph. D.
Child Psychologist and Parenting Consultant