Anger is an emotion that all people experience from birth to death. When an infant is upset or frustrated, the only tool they have to communicate those feelings is crying. As we age, we develop the ability to communicate our emotions to others by using words and behaviors. Oftentimes, adults expect young children who are dealing with anger to use coping tools that are not fully developed, such as “using their words” instead of crying.
Helping our children understand anger and develop skills to communicate that emotion can alleviate frustration for both child and adult. Here is a simple plan to use with your club to begin the process:
Opening Discussion – Have a short discussion with members using these questions:
- When is a time that you felt angry?
- How can you tell if a person is angry?
- What do you do when you are angry?
Read a story – There are many great children’s books about dealing with anger. Try one of these:
- When Sophia Gets Angry, Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang
- When I am Angry by Michael Gordon
- When I Feel Angry by Cornelia Maude Spelman
Debrief the Story – Reviewing what happened will help members identify what to do and not do when they experience anger.
- Ask what happened to make the character(s) mad.
- Ask what the character did to calm down.
Make a Calm Down Bottle – This simple craft is easy to make and is a tool that members can take home to practice coping with anger.
- Water bottle for each member
- Corn syrup
- Hot glue gun (optional)
- Give each member a water bottle and have them drink or dump so that it is halfway full.
- Using the funnel, have each member add a 2-3 tablespoons of glitter to their bottle.
- Add corn syrup to the bottle until it is full.
- Hot glue the lid on (parents will appreciate this step!)
- SHAKE the bottle and watch the glitter swirl.
Teach each member to use their calm down bottle. Discuss that this is a tool for them to use when they feel angry. They just need to shake the bottle and then sit quietly and watch as the glitter settles to the bottom. If they still feel angry when the glitter has settled, they can shake it again for a longer cool down period. Challenge your members to use their bottle instead of yelling or crying when they feel mad.