Helping children to express their angry feelings

Children communicate through play. They are not capable of talking about their feeling like adults. They work things out by playing.

According to the Association for Play Therapy “Play Therapy is more then working out feelings. It can provide a corrective emotional experience needed for healing, promote cognitive development and provide insight. The child can get help in resolving inner conflicts or dysfunctional thinking”

Child running outside

As a play therapist I see children who struggle to express their negative feelings, for example, anger. When a child has a lot of anger and has difficulties with expressing it, it is possible there is something wrong in their inner world.

I do not rely on teaching a child “anger management strategies” In a play therapy session a child works through their anger and negative feelings. As the therapist I listen to what has happened and what is currently happening. A play therapist listens to the child’s anger.

Play therapy provides a safe environment where a child can work through their anger  by using tools such as a sand tray, musical instruments, clay, puppets etc.

This therapy can be very effective in helping children to regulate their emotions. As a qualifed yoga therapist and a 'Relax Kids' coach I find that  yoga, visualisation and relaxation techniques can also be very helpful.

I work closely with parents and schools where together we help children to understand their negative feelings and an ultimate goal is to teach children self- regulation.

Listed below are a few tips for parents on how to help children with self-regulation:

  • Listening to calming music

  • Playing with water in the sink

  • Hugs

  • Petting an animal

  • Colouring or drawing

  • Jumping on a mat or small trampoline

  • Going for a walk

More great tips can be found on

Lizz Summers

Voice & Presentation Skills Coach