Activities to Identify Anger Triggers

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

When students know how to identify triggers for anger, they are usually better able to handle their feelings appropriately. This lesson offers fun and engaging activities that will help your students identify anger triggers.

Learning What Triggers Your Anger

If you are a teacher or tutor, you know that it can be hard for children to control their anger. Everyone gets angry sometimes, and it is a natural feeling. However, if students are aware of the things that sometimes cause them to get angry, known as anger triggers, then they can prepare themselves and modulate their reactions. Teaching students to identify anger triggers can take a long time, but it is worth the effort when this kind of identification helps students develop self-regulation. The activities in this lesson are designed to help your students think about their anger triggers and practice identifying them.

Activities for Young Children

Paint Your Anger

Many young children are better able to think about their emotions when they are allowed to work visually and artistically. To do this activity, ask each child in your class to think about the last time they remember getting really angry. Then, give them a piece of paper. On one side of the paper, they should use colored pencils or crayons to draw the scenario when they got angry. On the other side they should use paints to convey how they visualize the feeling of anger. Their two-sided pictures will represent anger triggers, since the trigger scenario is on one side and the anger is on the reverse. Ask students to share their pictures as a way into facilitating a conversation about triggers.

Anger Timeline

This is a great activity for students to think about the times throughout the day when anger might occur. Show your students an outline of their usual daily schedule, including getting ready for school in the morning, all of the periods of the school day, and the things they usually do after school. Then, ask them to work with partners to talk about what happens during each of those parts of the day that sometimes makes them angry. Finally, bring students back together. Ask them to talk about the following questions:

  • What are the kinds of things that make you angry at different parts of the day?
  • If you know there is an anger trigger nearby, what can you do to help yourself stay calm?
  • What are the times of day when you are more likely to get angry, and what can you do to help yourself during those times of day?

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