Therapy interventions can really come out of nowhere sometimes! This intervention came from me simply thinking of a way for children to connect their difficult (or sometimes even not so difficult) feelings to calming skills that help them. This intervention is most helpful after kids have a strong emotional identification and knowledge of coping/calming skills. I’ve tried this with a few of my clients already with success and hope that you can be just as successful with this intervention!
Here is what you will need for the intervention:
-Yarn, String, or Pipe Cleaners
First, brainstorm with your client various feeling words. The emotions can be both difficult (ie. worried, scared, nervous, angry, sad) and less difficult (ie. silly, hyper, happy).
While brainstorming, have either you or the child write the feeling word on the post-it note. Post the post-it note with the written feeling on the wall. Since I generally work with little ones who do not know how to write, I typically write the the word and have them put the post-it on the all. It improves kids’ confidence and self-esteem by being able to help! Repeat this until you have a vertical line of roughly 5-10 post it notes with feeling words.
Next, brainstorm with your client various calming or coping skills. This can include various ways of deep breathing, exercising, talking to a parent, walking away, using a stress ball, Power Posing, and more! Just like the feelings, have either you or the child write the calming skill on the post-it note. Post the post-it note with the written coping skills on the wall next to the feeling post it notes. Repeat until you have the same number of coping skills as feeling words.
Discuss with your client how coping skills can help with many different feelings. For example, when you are sad, it can help to talk to a parent or use deep breathing. I also like to discuss that although some feelings may not be difficult, it can be helpful to use a calming skill when we are experiencing too much of a certain emotion (ex. deep breathing can help when we are feeling too silly and exercising can help when we are feeling too energetic).
Next, instruct the child to connect the coping skills to the feelings that they help by using yarn, string, or pipe cleaners. I personally had pipe cleaners on hand so used those with my kiddos. Have the child connect the pipe cleaners by using tape. It’s nice to have one color per feeling to give a nice visual for kids. Encourage your client to connect feelings to multiple coping skills.
After going through all of the feelings and coping skills, there should be a beautiful web connecting feelings to calming skills and calming skills to feelings!
Take a picture of the completed intervention to give to your client to keep and use when they are experiencing a particular feeling!
Until next time, Play On!