Coping Strategy For Your Child

Coping Strategy For Your Child

Here is a coping strategy that you can teach your child if they are bullied, or often facing a stressful situation. This coping mechanism is called the stoplight metaphor. You start by placing a red, yellow and green sticker in front of your child. Then, introduce what each color represents, and remind them that this strategy can be used whenever they are looking to feel calm, or seeking comfort. 

The Stoplight Metaphor Explained


Red. Count to ten, take a deep breathe and calm down.

Yellow. Think of a solution. See things differently and begin problem solving. Ask yourself, “Do I respond?” and “Will I get in trouble if I react this way?”

Green. Try out the best solution that you came up with. If your response doesn’t work, go back to red and try again. Repeat these steps until you are happy with your solution.


The goal of this coping strategy is to help your child stay in control and manage their reactivity to a situation that makes them feel defensive. This intervention has the best outcome when your child refers to it often, and they use it over a long period of time.

I encourage you to teach your child self-regulation skills.

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