Divorce group activities for children can create an incredible opportunity for kids experiencing the difficult aspects of divorce to connect with similar others. Group activities gives these children a place to process their emotions and heal.
Web of Emotions Connection Activity
For kids whose parents are going through a divorce, common feelings often include loneliness and sadness. Create an opportunity to connect the kids in the group by having them engage in a common grounds exercise. To start:
- Have each child write down an emotion they have been feeling lately when they think about the divorce.
- Next, collect the emotions in a container and bring out some string or rope that is long enough to create a web.
- Read each emotion aloud and ask the group if they've ever felt that way before.
- For the kids who raise their hands, toss them an end of the string and encourage them to hold on to a piece and toss it to anyone else who is raising their hand.
- After reading several emotions and a web has formed, encourage a discussion about connection and seeking supportive people to talk to when they are feeling overwhelmed by emotion.
Activity Based on Asking for Help
Sometimes a child whose parents are going through a divorce feel like they have to act like adults and can't be kids. They may feel discouraged to ask for help when they are feeling down. To encourage kids to ask for help when they need it:
- Set up an obstacle course using just rope to create a web around the room or designated outdoor area.
- The ropes should be about waist high for the kids to grasp on to and follow.
- Tell the kids that they will be blindfolded and encouraged to find the end of the maze using only their hands.
- Let them work their way around and under the ropes as they attempt to find the end (which is non-existent).
- If a child raises their hand and asks for help, guide them out of the maze and congratulate them on finding the key to the maze: knowing when to ask for help.
- Leave 15 minutes at the end of the group to process the experience and discuss why or why not certain kids asked for help, if they are encouraged to ask for help at home or not, and why it is important to ask for help if feeling overwhelmed.
Group Art Builds Confidence
A divorce can lead to a dip in a child's confidence. To encourage leadership skills and boost confidence, have the kids plan and create an art project together that represents how they have been feeling during the divorce process. Leave the instructions very vague and open to encourage them to think creatively. Instruct them to work together and collaborate on creating a visual representation of their emotions at any point during the divorce process. They can create a few mini drawings, paintings, or collages, or work together on one big project. This allows them to take ownership of their emotions, act on their creative thoughts, and therefore instill a sense of confidence in their thought process. For this project supply the kids with:
- Paper, poster-boards, and construction paper as potential bases to choose from
- Paint, colored pencils, and markers
- Magazines, stickers, and stencils
Help facilitate a conversation about what emotions are important for them to display on the project. Provide plenty of positive reinforcement during the project and at the end of the project. Completing this project together can help them feel more connected to each other as well as assist them in processing tricky emotions that can accompany divorce.
Partner Mirroring for Self Awareness
To promote self awareness and insight have the kids pair up and sit across from their peer. Let them know that they will be taking turns mirroring each other after a prompt is read. Read off the following questions and have each child react emotionally to them while staying quiet. Their partner will mirror their reaction.
- How did you feel when your parents told you they were getting divorced?
- How do you feel when you spend time with your parents separately?
- How do you feel when you are alone?
Have the partners switch and then process what the exercise was like for each participant and what they noticed about their peer's emotions.
Positive Affirmation Activity
Go around the circle and have each child complete the phrase "I am blank" with a positive word describing themselves. After each child says their phrase, have the group echo back "You are blank" to solidify the positive affirmation. This exercise can help boost the child's confidence and help them feel connected to others during this difficult time.
Self Care Sharing Activity
A parent's divorce can really weigh heavy on a child and lower their self esteem. Every group session, go around the room and ask each child to share something that they are proud of themselves for, or something they accomplished. This can be anything- big or small. Have all the kids write this down on a list that they add to each week and at the end of group therapy, encourage them to hang this up in their room as a reminder of their strengths. If a child is unable to come up with anything, encourage other group members to point out their strengths.
The Importance of Group Activities
Group activities provide a safe space for kids to explore the difficult emotions that can accompany a divorce. These activities are great for promoting peer connection as well as boosting emotional intelligence and self care during this stressful time.