Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Free Social Stories for Calming Down & Teaching Coping Skills

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A collection of free social stories for calming down, building self-regulation strategies, and teaching coping skills. Printable and video social stories for kids are included below.

There are a lot of things to teach kids about when it comes to social emotional learning. But helping kids learn how to regulate their bodies and use calm down strategies is so so important. 

And I know it might seem like a monumental task to help your child find their perfect calm down strategies. I mean there are literally hundreds of different strategies and tools that one can use. So it can be a bit overwhelming.

But using a social story is a great way for kids to learn about these skills and practice different calm down strategies to see what works best for them. Maybe it's deep breathing. Maybe it's a visualization technique. Maybe they need to chew, fidget, stim, or simply take a break.

Below you will find a variety of free social stories for calming down and teaching different coping strategies.

Please note that the following social stories aren't necessarily focused on specific emotions, in case that is what you were hoping for here. That will be for another list of stories. Otherwise, this list would be huge! 

Instead, the stories below focus specifically on teaching coping strategies like deep breathing, counting backwards, using a calming corner, and that sort of thing.

Free social stories for calming down, building self-regulation strategies, and teaching coping strategies

Free Social Stories for Calming Down & Teaching Different Coping Strategies

Have you been looking for a social story that teaches coping skills or calm down strategies? Then look no further than these free calm down social stories. Some require you to have a Teachers Pay Teachers account (which is free!) before you can download them.

I've rounded up some options for you to explore. That way you can find the best calming strategies social story for you and your child. Or you can simply use ideas from different stories below to write your own custom story (free social story templates here to help).

Please note that just because a social story is listed here does not mean I endorse its content. After all, many social stories tend to be poorly written and/or teach autistic masking. Besides, I haven't read all of these stories word for word myself. So please read through the stories carefully before using them with your child.

1. Calm Down Hero Story for Kids - Not technically a social story, but this little rhyming story is perfect for kids to learn different calm down strategies. It uses clipart and numbers and is perfect for hyperlexic kids. It's also one of the most popular printables on my blog.

2. Deep Breathing Social Story - This story is all about teaching kids how to do deep breathing as a way to calm down. It uses full color photos with diverse kids.

3. Chewing Social Story - Many kids like to chew as a way to regulate their bodies and can be a great coping skill. This story uses full color photos to talk about chewing as a sensory regulation tool.

4. Fidgeting Social Story - Many kids fidget as a way to keep their bodies regulated. This story talks about different ways to fidget and how kids can calm their bodies through fidgeting. It uses full color photos like all of my social stories.

5. Stimming Social Story - This story talks about what stimming is and how it can be used as a self-regulation strategy for calming down. It uses full color photos and features diverse kids.

6. Visualization Social Stories for Calming Down from Happy Learners - Here are two text only social stories about using visualizations as a calm down strategy. There are no images included. The titles of the stories are "Happy Memory" and "Visualizations."

7. Calming Corner Social Story from Autism Little Learners - This social story talks about using a calming corner and includes lots of great calm down strategies. It uses colorful clipart and lots of diverse characters throughout.

8. How to Calm My Body Social Story from Autism Little Learners - This story outlines various calm down strategies. It features colorful clipart and diverse characters. The story is available in English, Spanish, French, and Turkish.

9. Taking a Break Social Story from Autism Little Learners - Here's a story about taking a body or sensory break as a way to regulate and cope. It features colorful clipart and diverse characters.

10. Various Calming Down Social Stories from Watson Institute - There are a bunch of social stories here that talk about calming down. Topics include keeping your cool, calming choices, word choices, consequences, and anger.

11. Worried Unicorn Coping Strategies Social Story from Seal the Deal in Preschool on TPT - This story focuses on coping strategies for when you feel worried. It features a cute unicorn and some other clipart.

12. Relaxation Technique Social Stories from ASERT - There are four simple social stories here that use colorful clipart. The topics include: deep breathing, progressive muscle, guided imagery, and grounding.

13. Calm Down Social Story - Turtle Breaths from School Social Worker Extras on TPT - This story talks about signs of anger and breathing techniques to calm down. It uses a random assortment of clipart and photos.

14. Social Story: I Can Calm Myself Down from Regie Plana-Alcuaz on TPT - I can't tell you much about this self regulation social story as it doesn't include much in terms of a description or preview images, but it looks like it uses icon style clipart. 

15. I Can Calm Down & Take a Break at School Social Story from Positively PBIS on TPT - Here's a story that talks about taking a break to calm down at school. It uses colorful clipart.

16. Editable I Can Calm Down Social Story from Ms. Lori School Social Worker on TPT - This story is editable so you can customize it to fit your needs. No images are included by the looks of things, but you'll be able to insert your own. Ideally, you'll want to insert images of your child using different strategies and tools anyway.

17. Counting Down Social Story from SPED Secrets on TPT - This story focuses on counting backwards as a calm down strategy. It uses a lot of icons and clipart so it's visually very busy. It might be helpful for some and super distracting for others. I personally find these hard to read and kind of annoying.

18. Curse Word Calm Down Social Story from Sarah Mitchell on TPT - Don't worry this story doesn't teach your child to curse as a coping strategy...Instead, it gives alternatives to swearing when upset or frustrated. Maybe I should use this story for myself haha

19. Calm Down Social Story from Hannah Matthews on TPT - This story is available for Google Slides, which means you might be able to edit it. It uses colorful clipart.

Video Social Stories About Coping Skills & Calming Down

Here are some video social stories that explore different coping skills and calm down strategies. You can use these in teletherapy sessions, social skills groups, at home, and/or classroom settings. Videos are always a great alternative to printing off a story.

Like the stories above, some of the wording in these videos aren't always great. Same with some of the coping strategies discussed (size of the problem, I'm looking at you!). But I wanted to make sure you had lots of different options for discussing and teaching about calm down strategies.

There are a couple of exceptions to my warnings in the above paragraph because I managed to find a few video recordings of people reading my stories, which was a fun surprise. The first video below is actually someone reading my calm down hero story, and the second and third ones feature someone reading my deep breath social story

Speaking of Coping Strategies...Try this Anger Social Story!

Hopefully one of these free social stories for calming down will do the trick for teaching your kids about emotional self regulation skills, but that's just part of the equation. You have to teach kids about emotions too. These stories pair well with this anger social story from my shop.

Anger social story for kids

Grab your copy of the anger social story

Free social stories for calming down, building self-regulation strategies, and teaching coping strategies