a mother with two teenage children.

15 Coping Skills to Teach Kids with a History of Trauma

This week, I was quoted in an article on Parents.com about 20 coping strategies for children experiencing stress and anxiety. With over 74 million viewers on their website, this was a huge accomplishment for me! I’m so grateful Parents highlighted my suggestions so we could reach more families with trauma-informed skills.

My 15 Favorite Coping Skill for Kids

In the Parents.com article, I explain bilateral stimulation (BLS), one of my favorite coping skills. It involves crossing our body’s midline while stimulating each side of our body with tapping or movement. Many options exist, but my go-to BLS is called “butterfly taps.”

To do butterfly taps, stretch your arms out straight before you. Take your right hand and place it on your left shoulder. Then, take your left hand and place it on your right shoulder. Take a short inhale, hold for four seconds, and a long, slow exhale, and begin tapping on your shoulders in an alternating pattern.

Instructions for how to do a butterfly hug.

Bilateral stimulation activates both brain hemispheres and sends signals of safety and relaxation to our nervous system. I notice that when I start tapping on each shoulder, I usually do it very fast, but when my nervous system begins to relax, my tapping slows down. You will know it is working when you yawn or naturally take a deep inhale and exhale without even thinking about it.

Other Examples of Bilateral Stimulation

If butterflies aren’t your thing or your child’s thing, do not worry. There are many other ways to engage both sides of the body to bring relaxation and calm into your daily life.

Additional Coping Skills for Kids

Tips for Success

Every child will be drawn to something different. The important part is that you guide them towards what works best for them and allow them to choose. At different times, they might want to use different coping skills, and that’s normal, too. One of the best ways to ensure your children will try these techniques is by modeling your coping skills. When they see you accessing your skills, it will motivate them to try, too.

I know you are looking for the magic solution that will take all the pain away for the children you love, but please remember that it’s not your job to remove their pain. It’s your job to walk them through it.

For free resources, events, and guidance on childhood trauma, please subscribe to my Childhood Trauma Newsletter at BethTyson.com or join my private Facebook group, Emotiminds.

Be gentle with yourself, Trauma Champion.

(This article was NOT created with help from AI).

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