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Family Coping Jar – Family ACtivity
- Post-It Note sized pieces of paper
- Writing Utensils
- A jar or cup
Expressing and talking about grief as a family is very important. It is equally important to find healthy ways of coping with grief as a family. Doing an activity together or just being in the car traveling somewhere can provide a safe way to talk about grief and learn about how it is affecting your kids. For this activity, invite each family member to write or draw one family coping idea on a piece of paper. Each family member can then add three to five activities to the Family Coping Jar. Once per week, you can pull an idea from the jar to support each other in coping as a family.
Themes for activities may include: finding movement together by walking, dancing, or doing yoga; being creative by crafting, writing, or playing music; taking a day trip somewhere like the zoo or museum; enjoy quiet time watching a movie, reading, or sharing memories.
box breathing – youth activity ages 11 – adult
When we are grieving, stressed, hungry, and/or tired our brains and bodies can have a more difficult time staying calm and responding in helpful ways. “Box Breathing” is a technique taught to Navy Seals to help them feel calmer and more in control of their minds and bodies; it might be helpful for you too! This is a coping skill that you can practice anywhere at any time, without anyone knowing that you are doing it. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
- Sit comfortably and make your back as straight as you can.
- Close your eyes and mouth and imagine a box in your mind (or watch this video for a visual)
- Inhale slowly through your nose, counting 1-2-3-4.
- Hold your breath, counting 1-2-3-4.
- Exhale slowly through your nose, counting 1-2-3-4
- Hold your breath again after the exhale, counting 1-2-3-4.
Repeat until you feel your body relax. If the four count holds feel too long or too short, feel free to adjust the time to your comfort.
coping necklace – youth activity ages 3 – 10
- Paper cut into medium sized circles
- Hole punch
- Writing Utensils
A coping tool is something you can use to help you feel better when you are having a hard time in your grief– like deep breathing, stretching, squeezing a stress ball, punching a pillow, or talking to a friend. A skill that helps us feel better when we feel mad, may not work when we feel sad. Or a skill that brings us happiness might not be available in the moment we need it. This is why it’s important to have a variety of different coping tools to choose from. This activity can be helpful to brainstorm and create a craft that can help us remember what to do when we are having a hard time.
On each of the circles, punch a hole towards the top. On one side of a “bead” or circle of paper, write or draw a feeling you have in your grief (anger, sadness, etc). On the opposite side of the “bead,” draw or glue on coping tools that you think could help with that feeling. String the “beads” on your string to complete your necklace!
Use the handout below for pictures of coping activities that can help kids brainstorm ideas.
“B is for Breathe: The ABC’s of Coping with Fussy and Frustrating Feelings” by Dr. Melissa Munro Boyd