Creative Interventions for Online Therapy for Kids
Looking for creative interventions for children during online therapy sessions? If so, look no further! We’ve mapped out the most creative intervention ideas that will keep children interested, engaged, and continually growing. Read on to discover our top creative interventions for online therapy with children:
Creating a peaceful calm place
A fun way to spark your client’s creativity is by having them draw or paint their peaceful calm place. Prior to jumping right into this activity, have the child close their eyes and simply breathe in through their nose and out through their mouth to relax the mind and nervous system. After a minute or two, begin to ask them details about their peaceful calm place and have them imagine that space in their mind.
Here are some questions you can ask the child to aid in creating and visualizing their peaceful calm place:
- What do you see? What does it look like around you? Are there any animals or people?
- What do you hear? Water flowing? The wind?
- What is the weather like? How does it make you feel?
- What are you doing in this peaceful calm place?
Once the child has an idea of what their peaceful calm place feels and looks like, you can virtually talk them through drawing or painting it. While doing so, ask more detailed questions about this space and explain to them that whenever they feel overwhelmed by “icky emotions” they can always return to the peaceful calm place that they have created in their mind.
A great way to engage children in a creative way is through mental scavenger hunts. This involves grounding techniques that simultaneously stimulate awareness and presence. Here are two ideas for online therapy scavenger hunts for children:
Mindfulness scavenger hunt
From their own home, have the child look around the room and think of:
- Five things that they can see (a book, a tree outside, a doll)
- Four things that they can touch (the ground, a dog, their hair)
- Three things that they can hear (a fan, a dog barking, cars outside)
- Two things that they can smell (food being made, the scent on their clothes, a candle)
- One thing they can taste (gum, the last thing they ate, a sip of something)
Gratitude scavenger hunt
Similarly, a gratitude scavenger hunt will consist of finding things in the child’s surroundings that bring them a sense of happiness and gratitude. While there are pre-made lists for gratitude scavenger hunts accessible online, feel free to create your own. Not sure where to begin? Consider the following ideas:
- Find something that makes you feel happy inside
- Find something that reminds you of a happy memory
- Find something that someone who loves you gave to you
Once the scavenger hunt is completed, you can dive deeper into asking questions about why the child chose what they did.
Each of these scavenger hunts will place the child in the present moment and further allow them to focus on their surroundings. The mindfulness scavenger hunt is a helpful way to combat anxiety as it is a great grounding tool. The gratitude scavenger hunt is also beneficial in the sense that it allows children to find things to be thankful for in their day to day lives.
Rock, paper, scissors, question
A great way to continue building rapport between you and the child is through a twist on the game rock, paper, scissors. At the end of the round, whoever wins gets to ask the other person a question of their choosing. Using simple, easy to answer questions that allow the two of you to know each other a little bit better, this will build closeness and understanding between you and the child.
In this activity, consider having backup questions for the child as it may be difficult for them to think of questions in the moment. You can do this by gathering basic informational questions and sending them over to the parents to print out for the child prior to the counseling session.
This is a great tool to start out with as it allows the child to feel like they know who you are and feel more comfortable when it comes time to talk about deeper, more emotional conversations later on.
Show and tell
Lastly, a show and tell activity is another great way to get to know more about the child in a way that would be much more difficult to do in face-to-face settings. In this activity, tell the child that you want them to find something in their room or in their house that is very important and meaningful to them. Then, give them a couple of minutes to grab whatever first comes to mind.
Once they have an object chosen, let them take their time explaining what it is, why they chose it, and what it means to them. Ask open-ended questions to learn more about how and why this object is so important to them. Showing interest throughout their explanation will aid in the rapport-building aspect of this activity.
While there are many approaches you can take to make the most out of online therapy sessions, the most important part is that children are paired up with individuals who are willing to take the time to listen and understand. Children’s Bureau offers a variety of counseling services and programs that are targeted towards children individually so that they can get the most out of each therapy session. Therapists at Children’s Bureau also work in side by side partnership with the child’s caregiver to provide the most optimal support system.
With a number of ways to get involved from volunteer work, to public advocacy and even resource parenting, you can be a part of the change and build a better future for the well-being of children. Check out our signs your child needs counseling blog here!
Susan J. Wood, Director of Mental Health
Susan J. Wood, LMFT is the Director of Mental Health at Children’s Bureau and has over 20 years of experience working with children in a community mental health setting. She joined Children’s Bureau in 2015 as a Program Manager in the Antelope Valley and became the program director in June 2018 where she was instrumental in opening and expanding mental health services to the Santa Clarita Valley and Long Beach.