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Creating a Coping Skills Plan

Updated: May 20



We all have different feelings that come and go all of the time. Some children, teens and adults may become overwhelmed with BIG feelings, and not know how to handle them appropriately. Having a coping skills plan for times like these is such a valuable tool!

I encourage all of my clients to create a coping skills plan and save it in a place that is easily accessible. They might also want to put some art supplies or some fun sensory tools with it. Some of my favorite sensory tools are these sensory stress balls, scented silly putty, stretchy string, kinetic sand, fidget toys or a hoberman sphere which is a great tool to take deep breaths with. If you are creating a coping skills toolbox, it would be great to keep your coping skills plan with it. I will write more about a coping skills tool box in a future post, but you can check out some other ideas from my whole coping skills room here!


Be sure to positively reinforce your child when you see them using their coping skills appropriately and modeling you using your own coping skills as well! I have created this video along with a free Coping Skills Plan (a fillable and printable version) that can be downloaded in my free resource library by subscribing at the bottom of this page.

This resource guides you through how to create a coping skills plan. It is organized in the following manner:


Identify your supports and the people who care about you


Draw or write your favorite coping skills such as:


  • Creating something: to cook, bake, make art, color, draw, paint, use clay or play doh, write, listen to or play music

  • Moving your body: dance, stretch, take a walk, play sports, exercise or jog

  • Using relaxation techniques: like progressive muscle relaxation, relaxation apps, or breathing techniques like hugging butterfly, equal breathing, smell the flower or buddy breath (with directions on how to do these relaxation coping skills!)

  • Connecting with others: talk in or check in on someone, help someone, share jokes or spend time with a pet

  • Using distraction as a technique: build something, do a puzzle, play a game, watch a video, clean or organize something, read or research something or make or prioritize a list


Draw or write down useful tips for your body such as:


  • getting enough sleep

  • going outside

  • taking a shower or bath

  • eating healthy foods

  • drinking enough water

  • moving your body


Write down or draw happy helpful thoughts to think about


Use your senses to imagine your relaxing, happy place and then draw or write about it

I am offering a free copy of this plan for free by subscribing to my free resource library (link at the bottom of this page and you will be sent a password when you subscribe to my email list.) My hope is to help others by sharing these resources so you have my permission to post a copy of this video anywhere but please be sure to link back to: www.WholeChildCounseling.com. Please do not post a copy of the plan itself on the internet, unless it is on a private password-protected site for your students or clients, such as Google Classroom.



If using this in telehealth, you can stream the video through a screen share during a session. You might even consider pausing the video and creating the plan step by step with your child or client. I'll also post more about telehealth resources in the future.


If you are interested in more resources about teaching children how to use coping skills, please check out this post about Helping Kids Cope in Uncertain Times. There is a fun printable dice set that has 6 different relaxation coping skills techniques on them, including four of the breathing techniques I talk about in this video (equal breathing, butterfly hug, smell the flower and buddy breath)!


Please support my work by following me on facebook and instagram and sharing a link to my website with your friends!



#copingskillsplan #mentalhealth #selfcare #sel #socialemotionallearning

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