When kids act out on their anger or frustration, it's easy to get annoyed.

But, being tiny, inexperienced humans, they haven't quite figured out how to handle big emotions yet. 

We've been there, trying to keep our cool while one of the kids is losing his 'ish.

There are ways we can help, from providing activities that teach them mindfulness and working with others to providing unstructured time for allowing them to experience their feelings.

"Children can learn many good skills from participating in activities that teach them how to work with others and find new ways to express their internal experiences. It's also important to give kids unstructured time in which to experience their feelings so they can learn to identify them," says Roxana Samaniego, Ph.D., a local psychologist. "Parents can help by listening to their kids and acknowledging their emotions without trying to fix them or distract them. Children can also learn to recognize and cope with strong emotions by learning mindfulness skills. This involves practicing bringing our attention to the present moment in a nonjudgmental way. There are a variety resources on the internet for helping kids to learn mindfulness skills."

Here are some ideas for activities that teach kids mindfulness, confidence and how to just release some of that tension. 

Martial arts

Martial arts teach self control, respect and discipline and help students gain flexibility, strength, coordination and confidence. All of these things can help lead to better behavior at home and in school.

Martial arts also provide a good alternative for kids who don't want to play in team sports. 

The YMCA of Southern Arizona has a martial arts program for kids with classes such as jujitsu, karate and more. Go here for info. 



When it came time for Aspen to introduce herself, she led the Kids Yoga group in a stretch called The Scorpion.

If you've practiced yoga, you know the benefits. It makes you feel centered, calm, mindful and focused. It has the same benefits for children. 

YogaOasis, 2631 N. Campbell Ave., has a program just for kiddos ages 5 to 11 called Yoga 4 Youth. It's offered in seven-week sessions throughout the school year. You can sign them up for the whole program for $80 or just do a drop-in class for $13. 

Classes are held at 4:15 p.m. on Thursdays. And, as an added bonus, there's an adult class at the same time. 

Go here for more info.


Cepheus Martinez, 14, checks a tire as his bicycle gets an adjustment. He is one of 17 kids participating in the Jr. El Tour training program.

Physical activity is a great way to release tension and get those happy endorphins flowing.

El Grupito teaches kids ages 7 to 12 how to have fun and be safe riding their bikes. There's a fall and spring season. Practices are twice a week with an additional weekend excursion.

Tuition is $300 per rider. Financial assistance is available. A bike and gear can be provided if needed. 

Go here for more info.



Kids Drawing Class — The Craft Revolt, 7545 S. Houghton Road. Learn to draw realistic pictures with shading and scale techniques. Ages 10 and up. 3-4:30 p.m. July 18. $15. 245-0340.

Art is therapeutic. There's just something about creating and working with your hands that makes you feel better. It also builds confidence, critical thinking and problem solving skills which are all useful when dealing with tough situations.

The Drawing Studio, 2760 N. Tucson Blvd., hosts youth classes for children ages 9 to 17 on a variety of skills like comic drawing, drawing what you see, mixed media and more. Go here for info.

Tuition starts at $45 and scholarships are available.

The Craft Revolt, 7545 S. Houghton Road, offers a six-week drawing class for kids that costs $85. Go here to find a schedule. 


Angela Pittenger | This Is Tucson