Posted in Classroom Guidance Lessons

Coping Survival Skills

This is a great lesson for students to explore their favorite coping skills in a variety of categories. This is a great resource for students to have to look back on during difficult times. I reference it in individual counseling often!

Lesson Title: Coping Survival Skills

Grade(s): K-5

ASCA Standards:

  • PS:B1.4 Develop effective coping skills for dealing with problems

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will be able to identify several coping skills that help them to deal with their big feelings and difficult situations.


  • Pencils, crayons (optional)
  • Coping Survival Skills handout (1 per student)


Opening Discussion:

  • Are feelings bad?
    • No. You cannot get in trouble for simply feeling mad, sad, or happy.
  • Are people bad?
    • No, I believe that people are generally good, but they may make good or bad choices.
  • Can the way people handle their feelings be bad?’
    • Yes! If you’re mad and calm your body, you won’t get in trouble, but if you hurt a person or a thing you will likely get in trouble or face some sort of negative consequence.

Explore different examples of good and bad responses with feelings. Ask students to share some negative and positive emotions and their actions to these emotions.

Explore how using coping skills can help students to manage their feelings: “Remember that coping skills are skills and strategies that we can use to help us get through tricky emotions/feelings and situations. Coping skills help us to manage our emotions, to find something to do to help cheer us up, or to distract us from our big feelings until we can better deal with them.”

On the white board, go over the following Coping Survival Strategies (with accompanyinghandout) and provide examples. It may also be helpful to provide the 100 coping skills and 101 positive affirmations handouts found here to each table/desk to help the students come up with ideas:

People who support me: mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, teacher, school counselor, friends, cousins, neighbors…

What makes me smile and laugh: dogs/puppies, animals, crafting, pictures, music, sports, comedy, television, texting friends, video games, gardening, hiking, riding bike, designing, coding…

Best listener and/or hug giver: friend, mom, dad, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa, teacher, neighbor…

Best ways to get moving: Biking, skateboarding, yoga, playing games (kickball), sports, walking, hiking…

Chill Out/Mindfulness: yoga, deep breathing, mindful visualization, mindful listening, mindful walking…

Positive Affirmation:

  • Today, I am brimming with energy and overflowing with joy.
  • My body is healthy; my mind is brilliant; my soul is tranquil.
  • I am superior to negative thoughts and low actions.
  • I forgive those who have harmed me in my past and peacefully detach from them.
  • A river of compassion washes away my anger and replaces it with love.
  • I possess the qualities needed to be extremely successful.
  • Creative energy surges through me and leads me to new and brilliant ideas.
  • Happiness is a choice. I base my happiness on my own accomplishments and the blessings I’ve been given.
  • My ability to conquer my challenges is limitless; my potential to succeed is infinite.
  • I am courageous and I stand up for myself.
  • My thoughts are filled with positivity and my life is plentiful with prosperity.
  • Today, I abandon my old habits and take up new, more positive ones.
  • Many people look up to me and recognize my worth; I am admired.
  • Everything that is happening now is happening for my ultimate good.
  • Though these times are difficult, they are only a short phase of life.
  • My fears of tomorrow are simply melting away.
  • My life is just beginning.

Make/Create/Play/Build: woodwork, crafts, sewing, knitting, scrapbooking, writing, journaling…

Top 3 Coping Tools: have students pick 3 favorites out of those mentioned


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