Bea Inclusive TV and Podcast
Episode 019

Hey everybody.

Happy Thursday. Now, today’s video is actually really cool and I’m super excited about it.

But before I get into that… are you new to my channel? Make sure you’re subscribed and have your notifications turned on.

My name is Bea and this VLOG is dedicated to advocating truly inclusive school provision through well researched, safe and recommended approaches such as Lego-based Therapy.

A huge thank you to you if you subscribed to my channel. I really appreciate that you are here.

But let’s get into this very exciting idea – coping skills at school. What it is? and why all teachers should use it?

I really wanted to talk about this because I mention coping skills all the time when I teach about self-regulation, relaxation and coping techniques when teaching children, especially with SEND.

I love using coping skills and I use them every time as they help me and my children to get through the difficulties of school life.

What I like about them is that they are free tools that don’t require a lot of training and are easily incorporated into school, class, small groups and one to one work.

We all have to deal with stress and our children are no exception. Whether they go through very difficult circumstances or weather they stressed about the morning routine or going to school they need to cope with different types of stress.

First, let’s define coping skills.

Coping skills help you tolerate, minimize, and deal with stressful situations in your life. We all use coping skills to create those “defence mechanism” or “coping skills” to help us better manage or lessen the stress. These can be distraction techniques or tool to help us process through all that we may feel. But not all coping skills are healthy for children.

Our children can develop healthy or unhealthy coping skills when dealing with persistent stress or anxiety. As you probably suspecting using healthy coping mechanisms can allow our children to be in control, calm and ready to handle whatever is causing their stress.

Unfortunately, children can rely on unhealthy coping mechanisms especially when they worked for the short term but automatically may end up hurting children physical and mental health. Let me give you few examples of unhealthy coping mechanism: self-harming (banging head, cutting, biting, pulling hairs) this is very dangerous for children and if you have children using this as a coping mechanism you should seek professional help immediately. Next unhealthy coping mechanisms are extensive eating, alcohol, drugs, undereating, avoiding problems, social withdrawal, aggression, etc.

Today I will not focus on unhealthy coping mechanisms, but I will talk about healthy coping skills.

There are many different types of coping skills – but I will focus mainly on distraction techniques and problem/process techniques as they work well in the school, community, home environment. These techniques are free to use, highly effective, proactive and positive ways of dealing with stress.

Distraction technique (is simply any activity that you engage in to redirect your mind off your current emotions. Instead of putting all your energy into the upsetting emotion, you reset your attention to something else. This will help you to get your children away from developing unhealthy coping skills such as self-injury, breaking things, hitting, shouting, avoiding. SO make sure that you will teach children to use healthy coping skills when dealing with stress. Let’s get through the distraction techniques:

  • Walk or Get fresh air (connect with nature)

  • Get a break from technology can help us to focus on our immediate surroundings, tune into how we are feeling and connect live with others

  • Read a book or listening to the audiobook (especially one with the sound effects – it’s a great way to escape your problems and live in a more exciting or happy one)

  • Listening to music/sing and/or/dancing routine

  • Breathing activities, breathing techniques (four by four breathing, star breathing, Lego belly breathing, hand breathing, breath of fire technique). This will slow down our children breathing, makes their hearts beating slow down and activate a calmer response.

  • Grounding techniques such as 5-4-3-2-1 where we are distracting our brain by naming 5 things that we can see, 4 things that we can touch, 3 things that we can hear, 2 things that we can smell and 1 thing that we can taste. This will help your children to ground them in the present moment and will reduce or slow down racing thoughts.

  • Yoga, guided meditation

  • Blowing bubbles (if the child imaging that he puts all the worries inside the bubble and watches the bubble burst can associate with letting the bad feeling go away).

  • Exercise – release endorphins, burst our mood and release the pain that we can feel.

  • Self-reflecting, clam space where children can self-regulate, they emotions, relax and have time to recover or decrease anxiety. Create special card/s and make sure you explain how to use them.

  • Cleaning, sorting, arranging (my children love this, and they feel helpful so I allow them to use the bottle spray and paper towel to clean) They can feel relax and proud afterwards at how nice and clean your place looks.

  • Draw or colour activities – there is something relaxing when colouring but remember to individualise as this activity may not work with children who don’t like colouring or have fine motor skills difficulties.

  • Sensory boxes with different materials (where children can bury things or find a thing). You can use sensory toys but also slime, water, stones, colourful beats, etc.

  • Do the puzzle (crossword puzzle, picture puzzle)

  • Build Lego collaborative set – challenge your children brain and distract them from unhealthy coping skills.

  • Writing positive and motivating quotes and reading them aloud. This can improve our mood, feel better and overcome any unhealthy urge (picking our skin, biting our nails,)

Let’s move on to the problem/processing types of coping skills.

  • Write a nice card to a friend, mum, teacher – this positive activity will remind you that you’re not alone with all that you are going through or do the act of kindness to somebody (these really helps to reduce stress and feel our bodies with feel-good hormones, increase or connections with others or with our community (cleaning park when walking)

  • Diary/journaling –These tools are great to help our children to process through what they may feeling and going through and slow our impulses down so they don’t make an unhealthy decision, maybe this will stop their panic or decrease anxiety level.

  • Feeling charts (the Incredible 5-point scale) or zones of regulation – slowing down and taking time to go through the emotions that may have come up that day can help our children to see why they are feeling sad, angry, tired, excited or frustrated that day, morning, afternoon.

  • Write down one or two things that you like about yourself and your situation. When children are upset use gratitude and find things that you are grateful for. For example, things are hard right now (name what’s hard) but I’m grateful for my health or friends.

  • Talk to your teacher time (I like to give the talking card to my children explaining to them how to use it. If you have 1 teacher, 1 TA, and 1 LSA in your class make three cards and explain how to use them. You can also involve your SENCO and Headteacher in that process. I know that this may need a bit of planning and thinking on how to implement so it works for you and your children but it’s worth the effort. Sometimes, we are so upset, and we can’t focus on what we are doing, or these feelings can escalate and cause our children to release this in lashing out, trashing class, etc. and it’s avoidable. Talking to the teacher could help them with all that they may not be able to cope with on their own. This may seem too time-consuming but trust me this is a time-saving machine and investment into your children emotional skills development.

  • Helping children to identify how the emotions feel in their bodies by trying to describe parts of the body for example face (red, hot, itching) and explain and understand how this feels physically.

Remember we all have to deal with stress and all the coping skills I mention today can be used by children and teachers.

Using a positive/healthy coping mechanism helps us deal with the stress in active and positive ways. Doesn’t matter what our stress maybe we can use these coping skills and problem solve in proactive, healthy ways.

Now, I know that I gave you enough to get you started but there is more. Please leave the healthy coping skill that you use in the comments down below.

What coping skills do you find to be the most helpful to your children? Which one works best for you?

Ok. There you have it!

I hope that you enjoyed my video today and I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

After you’ve finished, please join the discussion below. Tell me if you would like to learn more about coping skills and I will see you soon.


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