Here are some strategies that are good to teach children to handle their emotions. These can work for kids with autism, who have a hard time regulating emotions, as well as for neurotypical children.
1. Validate their feelings. Don’t diminish what they say by saying they should not be upset. Tell them you understand they are upset and that it’s normal to be upset. Identify with them by saying that everybody feels badly sometimes – even adults.
2. Give them strategies to self-regulate their emotions. Examples include having them:
- Take deep breaths. Have them breathe into their hands or use a windmill or a leaf.
- Count to 10 or 20.
- Talk about it with a parent, teacher, or peer.
3. Use a video camera to tape them complaining about doing an activity and also tape them acting appropriately. Show them both versions so they can understand how others perceive them (theory of mind).
By the way, if anyone has any other ideas, feel free to contact me (contact information is at http://www.coachmike.net).