Activities for Children With Behavioral Problems

Behavioral problems have many causes. They can stem from neurological disorders such as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, emotional issues such as abuse or family issues such as divorce. Regardless of the cause, though, some activities can help children with behavioral problems. Parents and teachers will need to determine which activities are most appropriate for a specific child.


No activities can eliminate behavior problems, but some can reduce the likelihood of them occurring. Exercise is recommended by both Kids Health and the American Academy of Pediatrics for help with behavioral problems. For children whose behavior problems have to do with anger, Kids Health recommends martial arts, wrestling and running as especially helpful forms of exercise.


Lack of self-control is often a cause of behavior problems, so the National Association of School Psychologists has suggested activities to help teach self-control 2. One idea is to use puppets to role-play wanting something that you can't have. The organization suggests having your child write or draw something he'd like to do, then discussing it and sharing something you'd like to do, but can't. Next, you and your child can use puppets to role-play scenarios that are typically frustrating for children such as wanting a toy that another child has or wanting to play with a friend who isn't available. After acting out the scenarios, you and your child should discuss how he felt and what choices he made during the exercise.

Reading Aloud

Reading to your children is more than just an opportunity to settle down at bedtime and increase literacy skills; it can also be an opportunity to practice identifying feelings. Children who struggle to identify feelings, whether their own or others can have behavior problems. The National Association of School Psychologists suggests parents discuss character's feelings with their children while they read and encourage children to draw pictures to illustrate those feelings 2.

Teach Problem-solving

Sometimes children misbehave because they don't know how to handle a circumstance or a feeling correctly, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. The National Association of School Psychologists suggests teaching children to deal with feeling angry 2. Have them recognize that they are angry by identifying characteristics such as clenched hands, then have them count to 10, then have them think about their choices. Discuss choices such as walking away, taking deep breaths or telling the person how you feel in a calm voice. Finally, children should act on their best choice.

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