50 Self Regulation Coping Strategies Students Can Use at School

Self Regulation Coping Strategies Students Can Use at School


When students feel overwhelmed in the classroom it can be hard to find appropriate ways for them to cope with their emotions. Below is a list of 50 ideas children can use to cope with their emotions that can be done practically anywhere.

When I feel upset, sad, or unfocused at school I can:

  1. Breathe. As I zoom my attention to my breathing, I will take extra-long breaths.
  2. Squeeze a stress ball or use another teacher-approved fidget.
  3. Imagine a a peaceful and calming place.
  4. Ask to deliver books to the library or another class.
  5. Push against the wall as hard as I can and then relax my body.
  6. Invent a secret hard signal with my teacher that communicates I need help.
  7. Move away from the distraction or person who is bothering me.
  8. Write down my thoughts or questions if my teachers can’t address them right away.
  9. Volunteer to clean or organize the classroom.
  10. Drink water.
  11. Ask permission to take a short walk down the hallway or up and down the stairs. And then return.
  12. Rest my head on the desk for a moment or two.
  13. Listen to calming music with headphones.
  14. Tell myself a positive affirmation or mantra.
  15. Remind myself it’s okay to make a mistake.
  16. Read in a quiet spot.
  17. Journal or write a letter.
  18. Push my palms together.
  19. Ask my teacher to break down the assignment into smaller chunks so it’s not so overwhelming.
  20. Take a three to five minute break in the designated classroom peace corner.
  21. Visualize a person who supports me and cheers me on.
  22. Think or write a list of three positive things in my life.
  23. Zoom in on my senses. Notice 5 things I see, 4 things I feel, 3 things I hear, 2 things I smell, and 1 thing I taste.
  24. Simply trace my hand around my finger, breathing in as I trace my fingers going up. Breathing out as I trace my fingers going down.
  25.  Use a break card to let my teacher know I need a break and then use a timer to remind me when to return.
  26. Rub my temples.
  27. Smile or laugh even if I have to fake it.
  28. Do an act of kindness.
  29. Eat a healthy snack for tell my teacher I’m hungry.
  30. Give myself or a stuffed animal a great big hug.
  31. Ask permission to quietly jog in place for a minute or do 20 jumping jacks.
  32. Ask if I can do my work standing up.
  33. Talk with my school counselor.
  34. Cross my arms in front of me and do the arm pretzel.
  35. Help a classmate or my teacher.
  36. Give myself an arm and hand massage.
  37. Go outside during recess and notice the sky, trees, and sounds from nature.
  38. Tell my teacher I need help with the assignment a lesson.
  39. Devise a secret code word or signal with my teacher that means time to get back on track.
  40. Stretch.
  41. Doodle, draw, or color.
  42. Ask to work with a buddy.
  43. Place my hands over my ears and breathe slowly and deeply, listening to the sound that my breath makes.
  44. Use I-statements to express how I’m feeling, what I need, or what I hope for.
  45. Count to 10 in back in coordination with my breath.
  46. Ask my teacher for help if I feel upset or overwhelmed.
  47. Roll my neck and shoulders.
  48. Think about least three things I’m grateful for.
  49. Tell my teacher I like to help her take a classroom responsibility.
  50. Squeeze my fists together as hard as I can, hold, then relax my hands.


As seen on Connect the Dots to ACEs