While children can show signs of anger problems as early as 3 years old, Scholastic notes that it isn't until after age 5 that children can correctly learn to manage their anger through calming techniques. A child between the ages of 5 and 8 is old enough to know that while anger is a natural emotion, it shouldn't be used to hurt or upset other people. Teachers and parents can work together with children to find techniques that work to calm children and make them feel more in control of their emotions.
A Time Out Is a Cool Down
Teach your child about taking a timeout when she begins to feel angry or upset. Unlike a timeout necessary for preschoolers, a timeout for a school-aged child can mean a few minutes to collect herself, practice deep breathing exercises and think about what is making her angry. It's a valuable way to show your child that she is not a slave to her anger, and that she can avoid or work through it with some quiet time.
Problem Solving Helps Him Find Better Solutions
Show your child the importance of conflict resolution and problem solving, says the National Network for Child Care. Between the ages of 5 and 8, your child is old enough to understand the difference between a win-win situation, a win-lose situation and a lose-lose situation. Talk to your child about finding better solutions to his anger, like talking to the person who he feels is making him upset, and resolving the conflict so that both are happy with the results.
Let Her Tell You How She Feels
When a child feels angry, an ideal coping technique is for her to go and find an adult to talk to. A parent, teacher, supervisor or friend can help her to validate her feelings of anger and teach her about better communication so that she can tell other children about her feelings. Give students and children a free pass to find you by having regular "communication time" each day, where children can let you know that they need to express themselves.
Pictures Show Feelings Better
For children as young as 5, emotions may be a hard thing to understand. What feels like anger to a 5- or 6-year-old child may actually be fear or confusion. Give your child a set of emotion cards that list a variety of emotions, plus pictures that demonstrate those emotions for smaller children who can't yet read. Then, when she feels angry, invite your child to choose an emotion card to let you know what she is really feeling, says the University of North Florida. Then you can talk about why she is feeling the emotion and how to remedy the situation.
Don't Get Mad, Read!
While a 5- to 8-year-old child may not immediately understand his own feelings of anger, he'll be able to easily recognize them in one of his favorite characters. Easy-to-read stories about anger can help your child see a favorite character coping with the same angry feelings that he does, and learn how the character dealt with it. Books like "I Am So Angry, I Could Scream" by Laura Fox and Chris Sabatino, or "Mad Isn't Bad" by Michaelene Mundy can help your child learn new tactics for dealing with his anger.
- Scholastic: Manage Anger
- NNCC: Getting Along: When I'm Angry
- University of North Florida: Anger Management and Schools
- Mad Isn't Bad: Michaelene Mundy, 2007
- I Am So Angry, I Could Scream: Laura Fox, Chris Sabatino, 2007