Thought Stopping Strategies for Kids

When worries creep it, it can be really hard to make them stop! But intentionally teaching kids thought-stopping strategies is a great way to help them get a handle on worry thoughts and break the worry spiral. Keep reading to find the thought-stopping strategies for kids that I teach my students (and my own kids!).

Thought-Stopping Strategies for Kids

Help kids practice these 9 thought stopping strategies. Teach them in classroom guidance, small group, or individual counseling! Help your kids manage worries with these thinking strategies and coping skills for worry. -Counselor Keri

1. Simply Say, “Stop!”

When kids notice their worry thoughts creeping into their minds, teach them to simply say, “Stop!” This can be something they say aloud or just in their minds. Tell those worry you don’t have time for them right now and then actively think about something else.

2. Snap Your Fingers

When you say, “Stop!” snap your fingers to signal the end of the worry. The physical act and the sound can be a reminder to change your train of thought.

3. Imagine a Big Red Stop Sign

In your mind, picture a big red stop sign. Imagine yourself coming to a complete stop. Toss out the worry and then pick up another thought.

4. Squash the Worry Bug

Picture your worry as an annoying bug. Imagine that it lands on the ground in front of you. Now, imagine that you squash it with your foot.

5. Pop the Worry Balloon

Picture your worry as a balloon. Imagine that you have a sharp pin in your hand. Picture yourself popping the worry balloon with the pin.

6. Get Up and Move

If you’re sitting while the worry thought creeps in, actively stand up and move around. Shift to a new activity like a favorite exercise. Or move around to get a change of scenery! If you’re sitting at a desk, move to a window or a calm corner.

7. Sing a Song

Aloud or in your head, sing a song that you know all of the words to. Focus on just the song lyrics!

8. Replay a Memory

In your mind, replay a favorite memory. Maybe it was the happiest day of your life. Maybe it was a day when something really funny or silly happened. Or maybe it was a time when you were successful and overcame an obstacle. Turn all of your attention to just that event!

9. Set a Timer

Set a timer for 1 minute. At the end of the minute, the timer will sound, and that sound signals that it’s time to push the worry out of your mind.

What are your favorite thought stopping strategies for kids?

I’d love to hear your ideas! What do you teach your students? Leave them in the comments section below. Let’s collaborate!

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thought-stopping strategies for kids: help kids manage worries these 9 strategies. -counselor keri

Want more strategies to help kids deal with worry?

Check out this page with 11 essential skills for kids who worry.

Help kids deal with worry with these 11 essential worry management skills. Teach them in classroom guidance, small group, or individual counseling! Help your kids manage worries with these thinking strategies and coping skills for worry. -Counselor Keri

Need more worry management activities in your toolbox? You’ll love these:

Worry Warriors Group Counseling Activities

Worry Workbook for Kids

Worry Warriors Card Game

Worry Warriors Folder Game

Worry Whale Activity

Help kids practice these 9 thought stopping strategies. Teach them in classroom guidance, small group, or individual counseling! Help your kids manage worries with these thinking strategies and coping skills for worry. -Counselor Keri
Help kids practice these 9 thought stopping strategies. Teach them in classroom guidance, small group, or individual counseling! Help your kids manage worries with these thinking strategies and coping skills for worry. -Counselor Keri

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