Don’t Be An ANGRY BIRD: Lessons on Anger Management for Kids

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There are two major things that are prominent in our home right now: the Angry Birds game and a 4 year old learning to deal with her frustrations. Maybe it’s all the hours we have spent shooting birds at stinky little pigs, but I started to see a lot of connections between the Angry Bird game and my own little angry “chick”.  The angry faces, the lashing out at others, etc. Her anger was a big emotion for such a small child to control.
So the idea was “hatched”(pun totally intended): use the Angry Birds as a way for teaching anger management to my daughter!
And so far, I LOVE it. My daughter understands the inappropriate ways of expressing anger as well as strategies to help calm her down.

The background of this technique is simple: like most kiddos, my daughter was struggling with a few different inappropriate ways of expressing her anger. To help her understand this better, I assigned a bird to each inappropriate behavior.  Side note: It is important to explain to our kids that feeling angry is completely normal. Don’t discipline your child because they feel angry…just teach them the appropriate ways of dealing with frustration, and clearly define those behaviors that are unacceptable.

Perfect demonstration of those angry eyes!!
Let me give you a more detailed explanation of each bird:

 

The eyebrows say it all… this bird has the meanest glare in town! It is the perfect bird to model inappropriate facial expressions. Although this may seem like such a minor side effect of anger, most parents will understand when I say unruly behavior started with a certain look in a child’s eyes. And if looks could kill, well…let’s just say my sweet, SWEET Boo would be a lethal weapon! :)

 

Just like this bird cuts through wood in the game, our mean words can cut through people’s hearts. The old saying “Sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me” is thrown out the window (in my opinion). We should speak to others the way we would want to be spoken to… tone of voice included. Yelling and screaming might not cut through my heart, but it definitely cuts through my ears! :)

 

 

 

Keep objects to yourself…throwing toys (or in the bird’s case- bombs) is not an appropriate way of expressing your anger! Not only can your hurt somebody else physically- you are not showing respect to your property.

 

 

 

Sometimes anger can build and build inside of us until we just EXPLODE…just like the bomb bird. It is also known as the kicking, pounding on the floor, wailing, gnashing of teeth behavior that we refer to as a tantrum. Our kids need to learn that when they are angry, it is inappropriae to let their body explode.

 

 

Once I had created these birds, I explained their angry behaviors to my daughter. We talked about better ways to deal with our frustrations (We don’t want to be like an angry bird!) When she gets upset now, she can tell me which angry bird(s) she was acting like- which I like because she can recognize the inappropriate behavior.

Boo learning about the angry birds

Here are some of the APPROPRIATE strategies I taught my daughter to help her deal with anger. Teach your child the different strategies, and let them decide which work best for her.

  • Go to the BIRDS NEST (aka bedroom or quiet place) until our body feels calm.

  • Breathe, breathe, breathe!  Deep breathing will deliver oxygen to our heart, brain, and the rest of our body. It will relax our bodies so we in turn can relax our mood. To illustrate this techinique- have your child take long, deep breaths to fill their lungs up like the orange balloon bird. Then slowly breath our the air, and repeat as needed. We call this the BALLOON BIRD BREATHING.

  • STOP and THINK. Think about the other person’s feelings and the consequences of inappropriately expressing your anger. OK, what 4 year old is going to understand that jargon, right? Have them think of the boomerang bird. Teach your kiddo that their choices will come back and affect them- just like that bird comes back. For example, if your child chooses to say mean things when she is angry, her friend might not want to play with her again. Her choice is coming back to her. Is that what she really wants? Another phrase I hear parents say to an angry child “How would you feel if someone said or did mean things to you?” Children need to understand that there are consequences for their behavior.  I know this is still a difficult concept for little ones to grasp, but teach and model as best as you can. You may choose to focus on the BIRDS NEST and BALLOON BIRD BREATHING techniques at first.

What do you do if your little angry bird just isn’t cooling down on their own?
It’s times like this that the mighty Mommy Eagle swoops down, picks up the little angry bird, and puts her in piggy tower for a time out (which is currently against the wall).

Here is a short video of Boo learning about the inappropriate behavior of the angry birds via stuffed animals (baby ibex, baby triceratops, and a baby golden eagle- my kiddo loves her unusual animals!)


So there you have it: anger management for kids, angry bird style.

Just because we love the angry birds game, doesn’t mean we love the angry bird behavior in our little ones!

Happy Teaching!

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77 thoughts on “Don’t Be An ANGRY BIRD: Lessons on Anger Management for Kids

  1. Rhonda

    I absolutely LOVE this! I had a very angry child in my pre-k class. She is now gone, but I would have LOVED to have this before she left. I’m going to do this for my class. Wow!!
    Great role playing too!

    Reply
    1. Keri

      Thank you so much for your nice comments! Let me know how it is working with your class- it is exciting to hear some positive feedback:)

      Reply
  2. Anonymous

    Thank you for putting this together. I wasn’t really excited to introduce the Angry Bird Game to my Boys (3 and 5). It didn’t really do much in the way of learning to me. But this is a great idea. I too like the role playing ideas.

    Reply
  3. Anonymous

    We are doing this right now! My boys age 3 and 4 1/2 have a really hard time with anger management- this has been a GREAT way to open the discussion in a way that they understand! And yes, Mommy is making the yellow bird b/c she often uses “unkind voice” when she gets angry. I really do love this, thanks for posting.

    Reply
  4. PlayDrMom

    This is TRULY brilliant. I have a TON of anger management activities (being a child therapist), but I LOVE the “trendiness” of this. Kids, and adults, can relate to it so easily. I will be using this at home AND at work!!! Thanks!!!

    Reply
    1. Keri

      Thank you SO much! I am glad that I was able to inspire a child therapist! I love your blog!! Please let me know how it is working with your kids!

      Reply
    1. Keri

      Thank you so much Carla! I really need to remind myself to join your linky party every week- “teach me tuesdays” is such a clever idea!

      Reply
  5. Kim

    I love, love, love this idea! I am an elementary special education teacher. I borrowed this wonderful idea to use with my social skills group at school. They are loving it! I took your general ideas and then adapted it for their needs. I am blogging about it soon! Stop by and read!! Thanks for the wonderful idea!!

    kim
    mrshsresourceroom.blogspot.com

    Reply
    1. Keri

      I am so thrilled that you are able to use this in your class! I checked out your blog- you wrote such a wonderful post- it is GREAT to see how this is helping little ones to understand and deal with anger:)

      Reply
    2. Kim

      This is soooo helping my kids. I just did another post about this and commented on your latest post. I cannot thank you enough for this wonderful idea!

      Reply
    3. Kim @ Mrs. Hs Resource Room

      I wanted to tell you that I continued using this idea and adapting to fit my needs through the end of last school year and beginning this year. I really can’t believe how wonderfully my kiddos have responded to this. I also am excited to share with you that I will be presenting at the KY Special Education Conference here in a few weeks about this very topic. I will be talking about anger management and behavior management strategies particulary with students with ASD, ADD/ADHD or other emotional/behavior disorders. I will be sharing some of these Angry Bird strategies along with other things that I do in my classroom. I just want to say thank you, again, for the inspiration. I’m sure you had no idea how many people this would touch, just as I had no idea how much my kids would relate to this!
      Keep up the great work! And…thanks for being an inspiration!
      Kim
      mrshsresourceroom.blogspot.com

      Reply
  6. Anonymous

    As an elementary school counselor, I LOVE this, and hope you don’t mind me borrowing the idea for a class lesson. All students need to learn about anger managment.

    Reply
  7. Chanda

    Thank you for sharing this idea! I’m going to add the blue bird (one of his favorites) to explain how the anger spreads and can hurt the feelings of others in the home. We have talked about how feeling angry is okay but we have to choose how we let that anger out. The idea of relating angry reactions to his favorite game (and with him being such a visual learner) is going to be something that works for him. THANK YOU!!!

    Reply
  8. Anonymous

    I just showed this to my 4 kids (ages 9,7,5, and 4) and they LOVE IT!!! They are busily sitting at the table cutting out Angry Birds, and talking about how those poor pigs are minding their own business and all of these Angry Birds are being Angry! Oh how I hope this lasts! My 7 year old loves the nest… GREAT post!

    Reply
  9. Stephany13

    Okay this is hitting home right now. I have a 7 yr old almost 8 who is having major issues with anger right now and we are going to counseling to help with this and other issues. I am going to ask really silly questions in how I set this up. Do you by chance have any templates to download. My son saw this and was totally thrilled with it because he loves angry birds. Thank you so much for your help with great teaching resources.

    Reply
  10. MT

    You are wonderful for sharing this! We just did it tonight and my 6 kids ate it up. We will now be referring to their beds as their “nests”.

    Reply
  11. CC

    I have been using your Angry bird lessons in my socials skills/behavior group for kids with Autism for the last month. LOVE IT!!!! I’ve shared the website with our district behavior specialist and an outside counselor as well. Thank you!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  12. Carrie

    I’ve been needing an anger management activity to use with my boys, and they LOVE Angry Birds. This will be so useful! Thank you, thank you!

    Reply
  13. Jessica G.

    Thank you for this lesson and the printables you put together! I used both to help tame my own “angry birds” tonight and will be featuring it on my blog, with links and credit going back to you. (I didn’t use your images on my blog, though.)

    Reply
  14. Anonymous

    Love this! I teach kids on the Autism Spectrum who have anger management difficulties. They are obsessed with Angry Birds right now, so this really helped them to engage and listen. Thank you!

    Reply
    1. Anonymous

      I also teach students with Autism. They love Angry Birds, it is one reinforcer they are all willing to work for. This will be the perfect way to teach anger management in a context they already enjoy. I can’t wait to try it in the classroom!

      Reply
  15. Anonymous

    I came across this on Pinterest. I printed the posters for my school age program and the kids loved it! They all love angry birds so they were able to relate. When a child is upset other children tell them to pick a cool down strategy and direct them to the poster! I have also recently printed a few of the books for a select group of children who seem to get angry often and love this game. They all loved them so much and the other children are now asking for their own copy! When a child gets upset they sit down and work on a page. Thank you so much for developing this!

    Reply
  16. pricklymom

    I am LOVING this concept right now! Here’s another half-baked analogy you might be able to work into this model: look at how Red Bird bashes himself willy-nilly into a wall and gets hurt (he actually says “ow!” which I love, BTW). He didn’t accomplish anything (nothing got knocked down), and all he did was hurt HIMSELF (the concept I’m thinking of here is how your anger can really be destructive to yourself).

    Reply
  17. Anonymous

    I love this idea! A co-worker gave me your website; I have used this with many of the children I work with in our community mental health setting.

    Reply
  18. Tricia at Mom is the Only Girl

    I love this idea! My kiddos are just getting into the game (yes, I know) and sometimes I find myself dealing with their anger so this is perfect timing that I found this on accident! Thank you for this resource! I’ve pinned this (hope it’s ok!)

    Reply
  19. Becki

    Had to let you know that this is a brill resource to use with children. I am a family support worker and needed some child friendly anger management resources so searched the web and found these, which are brill!!

    Reply
  20. BethE Girl

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for your wonderful idea on how to teach about anger! Today you really are an answer to our family’s prayers. Our 9 year old has been really, really struggling with anger lately, and of coarse our anger then gets kindled and added to the mix. I have been trying to find a way to teach about appropriate behavior and this is going to help a TON! I also love the blue bird idea. That’s been one of our biggest problems; spreading the anger. Thanks again!! We’re doing this TONIGHT for FHE!

    Reply
  21. pastor mike

    I think this is brilliant!!!! I work for a community based mental health provider where my role is to teach Life Skills (anger management, friendship building, school success skills, etc) to kids who range in age from 4-17 and I see this working very well! I am actually adopting this as my primary approach for teaching anger recognition and management. VERY good idea! and thank you for allowing other to find and utilize this material including the work books.

    Reply
  22. Kristi Berg

    I just wanted to take a minute and say THANK YOU!! I appreciate you sharing your wonderful idea as well as all of your materials. I am going to try this with my group of VERY angry kids on an inpatient unit. I think it will work fabulously.
    Thanks again!

    Reply
  23. Stacey

    Thanks for your creativity and generosity to share it! Both affection for angry birds game and learning anger management are very much what my family is smack in the middle of right now- so timely! I will enjoy sharing this with my youngsters.

    Reply
  24. Ponnaiah T

    my daughter is studying in 3rd class. every day her class work was incomplete. we are advising her daily but not use please suggest me how to take care of her. because she will write very slow so all the class work were pending how can i improve her activities

    Reply
  25. Nancy Sabina

    This is a perfect FHE idea for our family. But you made it even easier by making the graphics so easily printable. Thank you! I was prepared to spend a chunk of time finding graphics to print, but you did all the work for me. Hooray!

    Reply
  26. Fernando Carrasco

    Yes, this is fantastic and creative idea. Thank you very much to share it this.
    I am a school counselor and I have been using Your idea “Angry bird lesson” to
    to teach anger coping in my groups. Thanks again. You are AWESOME!

    Sincerely,

    Fernando Carrasco

    Reply
  27. Layne Adams

    Don’t allow anger to control your life ever again. Enroll in a anger management class, anger management classes for groups or anger management courses for individuals today and take the first step in stopping the cycle of anger that has caused you personal and professional conflict.
    Anger Management Class Denver

    Reply
  28. juliabrightside

    Hi! I love your Angry Birds Anger Management Ideas!!
    I’d love to do something like this in german (I’m from Austria) – could you tell me where you’ve got the pictures of the Angry Birds from?
    Thanks a lot!

    Reply
    1. ktoponce Post author

      I just did a google search for the pics- there are a lot available! Some of the black and white ones I created with the Gimp. Hope this helps!

      Reply
  29. Nicola

    Thanks so much for this. This year I have a group boys (7&8 years old) who have problems dealing with their anger after recess. I’ve been doing it with all the class (boys & girls) and they are responding really well to it.

    Reply
  30. elshmobelsh

    I can’t find your name anywhere on here, but I want to thank you! Your ideas and blog were mentioned at our Power of Moms learning circle and I think we’ve all come to check out your Anger Management Angry Birds. I truly feel you were inspired with this. Thank you so, so much for your willingness to share these great ideas!! Will you email me your name so I can put it with the lesson? I just want to make sure you get credit!

    Thanks!
    elshmobelsh

    Reply
  31. Michelle

    This was wonderful! THank you so much for sharing the short film. It is absolutely adorable. My son enjoyed watching the film and thought that it will be helpful to him in school. :)

    Reply
  32. Maria

    This is an absolutely fantastic ideas. I cant wait to try it out. I really liked the way in which you engaged your daughter through an idea she could relate to and had interest in. I thought your role playing was very cleverly done. The point was clear from start to finish! Well done, I will definitely be sharing this idea with my colleagues!

    Maria,
    Ireland

    Reply
  33. Twylla-Dawn

    I found this on Pinterest. This was the perfect FHE lesson for our family lately. After the lesson, a song came into my head and I thought you all would like to use it to remind your children not to be angry birds. It is to the tune of “Fun To Do” in the Children’s Hymn Book. https://www.lds.org/music/library/childrens-songbook/fun-to-do?lang=eng
    My song is as follows: “Angry Birds is fun to play, fun to play, fun to play. Angry Birds is fun to play but we don’t behave that way.”
    Enjoy!

    Reply
  34. Arlene

    Love this idea! How bout Angry Bird Roundup? Lol! our church is doing a vbs next wk & I’m teaching a 10 min session on attitudes but it’s all western style!! I’d love some input if u could email me! I want to make my sessions power packed learning about dealing with their wrong attitudes & the right ones to corral! I was searching web for some activities to make my session a hands on/interactive/activity/game style kind of learning.., for approx 50 kids in a room – 3 sessions in a row of 10min ea. ! :-0€ Anger vs self control are the 1st day…Laziness vs Diligence is 2nd day..Complaining vs Thankfulness, Resentment vs Forgiveness & Fear vs Faith Are my themes… I’d love to share more & hear any of ur suggestions if I hear back from u soon. I have ideas lined up but like I said, trying to do last minute ‘tweaking’ to make it even better!! :-)

    Reply
  35. Emily

    Hi!
    I am a graduate student, studying school psychology and absolutely love your “Don’t be an angry bird” lessons on anger management! I used them during a social/emotional group that I implemented at an elementary school last year. I will be attending a school mental health conference soon (and presenting on the groups that I implemented) and I was wondering if you minded if I showed your pictures of the angry bird strategies (e.g., boomerang bird, mighty eagle, etc.). I would just briefly mention them when discussing some of the strategies I used during my group. Of course, I would cite your website & your name if you could email it to me.

    Please let me know if you mind if I briefly show those strategies during my presentation.

    Thanks so much!
    Emily

    Reply

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