Coping Skills

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Learning Goal

Students will learn the value of coping skills and develop their own coping skills menu.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the lessons, students will be able to:

  • Identify what a coping skill is
  • Understand when to use coping skills
  • Create a list of personal coping skills
Learning Summary

We all have ways we blow off steam, decompress, relax, or deal with life’s difficulties through various coping skills,, but we aren’t born knowing how to cope! This lesson introduces students to the idea of coping skills while providing an opportunity to create a class list.

The lesson starts with a Mindful Moment: students learn to count their breath to focus. The lesson then introduces students to the concept of coping skills and why we use them. Students then work in small groups or pairs to brainstorm as many coping skills they can come up with. Then they share out and pare down to a list of coping skills for your class. The discussion challenges students to think critically about why it can be
hard to use coping skills in the moment and then reflect through their journals on the lesson.

computer icon Online Teaching Tips for Coping Skills

If children are at home in a stressful situation, a lesson on coping skills can hit the spot! 

Students are more likely to have coping skills for using in their home than in class, so ask students to share what makes them feel calm in their home. When choosing coping skills to teach them, choose ones that require no or minimal supplies, such as breathing, lying down with a stuffed animal, taking a bath, etc.  

See lesson one on Mindfulness for some general teaching recommendations about doing live or recorded social-emotional lessons. 

Students likely have something in their home they associate with calming down. Ask them to bring it and show to the camera.

Give students options of things they can do in their home as a coping skill and give them the assignment of doing at least one. If parents can upload a picture of their student doing their coping skill, create and share back a document showing everyone in the class.

CASEL Competencies

Self-awareness: The abilities to understand one’s own emotions, thoughts, and values and how they influence behavior across contexts. This includes capacities to recognize one’s strengths and limitations with a well-grounded sense of confidence and purpose.

Self-management: The abilities to manage one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations and to achieve goals and aspirations. This includes the capacities to delay gratification, manage stress, and feel motivation & agency to accomplish personal/collective goals.