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How to Teach Young Children Coping Skills

Coping skills are the strategies and techniques individuals use to manage stress and difficult emotions. Teaching coping skills is an essential aspect of mental health education and can help individuals better navigate challenging situations. This article will explore some of the best teaching methods for coping skills and the research supporting their effectiveness.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR):

MBSR is a widely used program that teaches mindfulness meditation and other mindfulness techniques to individuals seeking to reduce stress and anxiety. A randomized controlled trial of MBSR found that it significantly reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety in participants (Carmody & Baer, 2008). The program has also been shown to increase self-compassion and improve quality of life (Shapiro et al., 2007).

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT):

CBT is a psychotherapeutic approach that teaches individuals to recognize and change negative thought patterns and behaviors. CBT has been shown to be effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression (Butler et al., 2006). A meta-analysis of CBT studies found that the therapy was more effective than other forms of treatment, including medication (Cuijpers et al., 2010).

Positive Psychology:

Positive psychology is a field of psychology that focuses on the study of positive emotions and behaviors, such as gratitude, optimism, and resilience. Teaching positive psychology techniques, such as keeping a gratitude journal or practicing self-compassion, has been shown to improve well-being and reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression (Huffman et al., 2014).

Mind-body practices, such as yoga, tai chi, and qigong, have been shown to be effective in reducing stress and anxiety. A meta-analysis of yoga studies found that it significantly reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression (Cramer et al., 2013). Mind-body practices are also effective in improving physical health, such as reducing blood pressure and improving cardiovascular health (Hartley et al., 2013).


Carmody, J., & Baer, R. A. (2008). Relationships between mindfulness practice and levels of mindfulness, medical and psychological symptoms and well-being in a mindfulness-based stress reduction program. Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 31(1), 23-33.

Butler, A. C., Chapman, J. E., Forman, E. M., & Beck, A. T. (2006). The empirical status of cognitive-behavioral therapy: A review of meta-analyses. Clinical Psychology Review, 26(1), 17-31.

Cuijpers, P., van Straten, A., Andersson, G., & van Oppen, P. (2008). Psychotherapy for depression in adults: A meta-analysis of comparative outcome studies. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 76(6), 909-922.

Hartley, L., Lee, M. S., Kwong, J. S., & Flowers, N. (2013). Qigong for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (6).

Huffman, J. C., Millstein, R. A., & Stern, T. A. (2014). Positive psychology: A practical guide to personal transformation. Journal of Clinical Psychology, 70(9), 877-887.

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