Child Counseling Activities and Home Chef Meals?
I love Home Chef Meals.
My wife orders them every once in a while, and she loves them, too!
Because all the hard thinking has been done for us.
The ingredients are selected, the recipe is typed, and all we have to do is heat up the ingredients.
The end result is beautiful meal!
Would you agree that parenting can be like cooking a meal from scratch some days?
You have to think about the issue and think of a way to handle it.
Child counseling activities are like Home Chef Meals.
They are quick, easy-to-use ideas to help you and your your kids deal with Anxiety, Anger, Chores, Depression, and Homework.
I’ve put these ideas together in a list for you, so that you can bookmark this article and come back to it when you bump up against some of these thorny childhood issues.
Child Counseling Activity: Anxiety and The Worry Box
This activity helps your child control his worries, instead of his worries seeming to control him.
Get a shoebox (or any other kind of box) and decorate it however you wish.
Work on this activity together.
Then, when your child gets anxious or worried about different things, have him write the worry on a piece of paper.
Tell him to put the worry in the Worry Box for safe keeping.
The box becomes a way for your child to “contain” the worry, so that he doesn’t feel like he has to think about it all the time.
Decide together when to open up the Worry Box. This could be once a week, once a day, or more.
When you open up the Worry Box together, talk together about the worry.
Parent Coaching Tip:
Before you start talking about Worries with your child:
A) Consider getting the children’s book, What To Do When You Worry Too Much
B) Check out this resource, written for college kids, but which you can adapt for your own child.
I like that this resource distinguishes between realistic worries and hypothetical worries, and also provides a problem-solving worksheet.
Child Counseling Activities for Anger
Anger Management Activity #1: Help Your Child Learn About Anger
Therapist Aid put together a free worksheet you and your child can fill out together when he’s calm.
Here’s what to do:
1. Fill out the worksheet together.
Choose a time that’s relaxed and fun.
Serve some of his favorite food.
Play relaxing music.
Keep a folder by his bed with the completed worksheet and review it after every angry episode as part of a learning opportunity.
Anger Management Activity#2 – Read a What To Do When Your Temper Flares, or another kid-friendly anger book
One of my favorites, that I use in my practice, is What To Do When Your Temper Flares.
A great free thing to do is go to your local library and ask the librarian for some of their best kids books on anger management, including the one I’ve mentioned.
Anger Management Activity #3 – Learning Self-Control
I’m quoting this activity verbatim from the article, Positive Child Therapy: 19 Child Counseling Techniques & Worksheets.
The Slow Motion Game
This technique can be applied to help the child learn about self-control.
It begins with the therapist explaining what self-control is and describing how it is sometimes difficult to maintain our self-control if we are moving very fast.
He will ask the child to illustrate what this fast-moving looks like. This is an excellent opportunity for the child to get moving and burn off some excess energy!
Next, he will introduce a pile of cards that have an action for the child to act out, like playing soccer, climbing a rock wall, or writing a letter.
The child will pick one card at a time and act out whatever is on it, but with a twist—he or she must do it in slow motion! He or she will engage in this slow-motion activity for one full minute, and a stopwatch can be used to time it. If there are multiple children, they can take turns acting out and timing each other.
This game is a fun way for children to learn about the concept of self-control and an opportunity for them to build it through play (Hall, Kaduson, & Schaefer, 2002).
Child Counseling Activity: Kids and Chores
Getting your child to do chores doesn’t have to be complicated.
Make Chores Assumed and Fun
Kids naturally like to be productive and part of things.
Assume that chores will be done (no lectures here), and participate in the chores with them.
Here are some chore activity suggestions from Parents.com –
1. Work as a team.
You can work together to see how fast you get get a chore done. Just make sure you show him how it needs to be done so that it’s done well.
Play his favorite music and make it into a dance party!
2. Make an infomercial together.
If you have more than one child, one child can record on the iPhone (or other Smart Phone) as the other child demonstrates the chore.
Or, if you have an only child, you can run the camera and your child can do the chore. Then you can swap roles.
3. Mix It Up.
Write all the chores on popsicle sticks or cards.
You can make use different colors for different parts of the house.
Have your child choose 3 different ones.
4. Invent More Difficult Challenges
You can begin by having your child do part of a chore.
As he gets used to doing that part of the chore, say, putting dishes away, you can ask him if he thinks he can handle a bigger challenge.
His next step may be loading the dishwasher.
And so on.
Child Counseling Activities: Coping with Depression
Child Depression Activity #1: Teaching Your Child About Feelings
It’s okay to have them, and it’s important to understand them.
Watch this video from the kids’ movie, Inside Out:
Talk about what kinds of feelings you and your child have experienced today.
Child Depression Activity #2: Learn about how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are connected.
Fill the sheet out twice.
Once when he’s feeling happy, and once when he’s feeling angry, sad, or down.
Here’s an example of a girl filling out the worksheet when she felt sad and hurt.
The girl, Emma, inoticed What Happened: “My friend Emma has not spoken to me as much as usual in the last week.”
My thoughts: “ Emma hasn’t spoken much to me this week. She must be mad at me.”
My feelings: “I felt sad and hurt.”
My actions: “Because I was upset, I ignored Emma and avoided her at school.”
Coming up with new thoughts can help you see the situation differently.
New thoughts: “Emma might be upset with me, but maybe not. I don’t know”
New feelings: “Concerned that Emma might be upset, but I’m not as sad as I was.”
New actions: “Ask Emma if she is mad at me, or if she has another problem.”
These exercises are powerful because:
1. Your child will learn that it’s okay to have thoughts, feelings, and actions.
2. Your child will start to understand that some thoughts and actions may not be helpful to him.
3. Your child will learn that he can learn to control his thoughts and actions, redirecting them to become more helpful, which will then produce better results in his life.
Child Counseling Activities for Homework
Homework Activity #1: Have some some fun together
Read the book, How To Do Homework Without Throwing Up
This is a humorous yet effective way to help your kid deal with the challenges and woes of homework.
It talks about tips for getting started, tips for getting through the homework, and much, much more.
Homework Activity #2: Review These Homework Tips (For Us Parents)
Here are some more tips from FamilyEducation.com
1. Set up a space for each of your children, complete withall the study materials they need.
2. Use When/Then. In other words, set a schedule.
How you do this is up to you. Your children may need up to an hour of down time. You know your kids best. Then they need to start studying.
Or, it may be best to say to them, “When you’ve finished x amount of homework, then you can play.”
3. In general, No Screens during homework time.
Of course, the digital revolution has happened, so you may need to be flexible with this rule.
Just ensure that your child isn’t using “I have to have my phone/computer/iPad to do my homework” doesn’t turn into a way to avoid doing the homework.
4. Be available to help, as best you can.
School is changing so much! Just because you may not understand everything your child is learning doesn’t mean you can be there to help as best you can.
Help your child learn to problem solve and persist, even when he doesn’t understand everything he’s learning.
Some more helpful homework resources for you, the parent:
(You’ll need to sign up to Additude Magazine’s mailing list, but they are a great resource.)
Additude Magazine’s Video -The ADHD Homework We Swear By (Not At)
Use and Enjoy These 5 Child Counseling Activities
Bookmark this article so that you can come back to it.
Adopt a growth mindset toward parenting and supporting your child.
Don’t feel alone on your parenting journey!
Call me at 847.571.0274 to talk for 15 minute strategy session.
I’ll listen to you and we can decide whether you’d like to meet for an initial session for you and your child to get to know me.
Or you may contact me via the form below. Please keep your message fairly general, so that you can protect your privacy and speak more specifically when we talk via phone.
If you are, considering child counseling for your child, please contact me for a free 15-minute consultation.
In addition, to learn more about my practice, check out Child Counseling in Barrington, IL
Steve Borgman, LCPC, is a cognitive behavioral therapist and currently owns a private practice in Barrington, IL. To find out more about Steve, check Counseling and Psychotherapy in Barrington, IL.
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