Online Therapy Games for Children
In today’s world, technology has become an integral part of our lives. With the advent of virtual communication tools like Zoom and Google Meet, it’s easier than ever to connect with people remotely. This has become especially important in the world of therapy, where online therapy has become increasingly popular. Online therapy games, in particular, have proven to be a great way to engage children in building rapport, having fun, reducing their anxiety, and building skills during telehealth therapy. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the online therapy games that can help children express their feelings, cope with stress, and have fun.
The Benefits of Using Online Therapy Games for Children
As a therapist, I use games all the time to help children express their feelings, cope with stress, and have fun. Therapeutic games can be an effective way to improve children’s social skills, emotional expression, and relationship strength. They are a great way to engage children and make them feel comfortable. This is especially true when working with children who may be hesitant to open up about their thoughts and feelings. By using games, we can create a safe and non-threatening environment where they feel comfortable sharing their emotions.
One of the main benefits of using therapy games for children is that they help reduce anxiety. Anxious children tend to be overwhelmed by their emotions, which can lead to isolation, fear, and worry. By using games, we can help them learn to regulate their emotions and reduce their anxiety levels. Games provide a fun and engaging way to teach children coping skills that they can use in other areas of their life.
In addition to reducing anxiety, therapy games for children can also help improve their mental health. By teaching them social skills, emotional expression, and relationship strength, we can help them develop a better understanding of their own emotions and the emotions of others. This can lead to improved self-esteem, better communication skills, and stronger relationships with peers and family members.
The Importance of Using Online Therapy Games For Children
Online therapy games have become increasingly popular over the past year. With the COVID-19 pandemic forcing many therapists to switch to telehealth therapy, online therapy games have proven to be an effective way to engage children remotely. One of the main advantages of using online therapy games is that they can be adapted to suit different age groups and skill levels. They are also a great way to build rapport with children who may feel more comfortable communicating online than in person.
Online therapy games can be used for a variety of purposes. For example, they can be used to help children build social skills, emotional expression, and relationship strength. They can also be used to teach children coping skills, such as mindfulness and relaxation techniques. Online therapy games are a great way to engage children in building rapport, having fun, and reducing their anxiety levels during telehealth therapy.
Common Online Therapy Games for Children
There are a variety of online therapy games that can be adapted to suit different age groups and skill levels. Below are some of the most common online therapy games that I use in my practice:
Pictionary: This classic game involves drawing a word or phrase and having the other person guess what it is. You can use a whiteboard feature or a shared screen to draw through Zoom, Google Meet, or any other virtual communication tool. Pictionary can be a fun way to help build rapport, share about their day, explore emotions, and provide a non-verbal way of expressing themselves. By asking the child to draw how they feel or what makes them happy or sad, you can use this game to deepen your emotional bond with them. If the child is hesitant to share their difficult experiences, start with casual, fun, and interest-based topics.
For example, you could ask the child to draw a picture of their favorite animal or food. This will not only help the child feel more comfortable with the activity but also give you an insight into their likes and dislikes.
Charades is another classic game that can be adapted for online therapy sessions. This game involves acting out a word or phrase without speaking and having the other person guess what it is. Since this game requires more space to act out the words or phrases, it is advisable to use a larger screen, such as a tablet or computer, to play this game.
Charades can also be used to help the child practice emotional expression in a safe and less vulnerable way since it’s a game and not directly about a specific event that occurred. The game can also help teach children social cues and nonverbal communication by acting out different scenarios or emotions. This can be helpful for children who are having difficulties understanding and being understood by their peers at school.
“I Spy” is a game that involves choosing an object in your surroundings and giving clues to the other person to guess what it is. This game can be played using a video call. “I Spy” can also be used to help the child focus on the present moment by asking them to notice details and colors. This focus on the present moment is an essential mindfulness skill that can help children use their five senses to ground themselves in their environment. This skill can be helpful when difficult thoughts and feelings are overwhelming them, and they need to emotionally regulate themselves. As a parent or caregiver, this can be a game to play when you can sense that the child is upset and can benefit from this game.
Bingo is another game that can be played online. This game involves marking off numbers or words on a card as they are called out. By using a website or an app to generate bingo cards, you can easily have your cards to share with the other person. The goal of this game is flexible and can be used to help the child learn new words or concepts by choosing a theme for the bingo cards. They can be related to hobbies, interests, animals, emotions, and characters.
Storytelling as a game involves creating a story together by taking turns adding sentences or words. Mad Libs is a popular game that uses this method, and you may find free humorous examples and scripts online. For kids that may be more comfortable writing their stories, they can use a chat feature to play this game. This game can help children express their creativity and imagination by asking them to come up with different characters, settings, or events. This then allows for the discussion of themes that are closer to your goals, be it around thoughts, feelings, and events that occurred.
Overall, these online therapy games can be a helpful tool in engaging children in building rapport, reducing their anxiety, and building skills during telehealth therapy. They can be beneficial in helping the children in your life open up, develop, and find ways of expressing themselves that bring them closer to you. Online games are a great way to connect with children who may communicate at different levels than the adults trying to connect with them.
As a therapist, I have used games to help children express their feelings, cope with stress, and have fun. I’ve even made a name for myself using more complex and interactive games, such as Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnite. Those games may require more time to invest in building the skills needed to be comfortable and effective when playing with children. So using simple and familiar games like Bingo, I Spy, Pictionary, Charades, and Storytelling can help you better connect with children.
It is important to note that these games are not a substitute for therapy. They are a tool that can be used to enhance therapy sessions and make them more engaging for children. It is essential to work with a licensed therapist who has experience in working with children to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to the individual’s specific needs and goals. This may include incorporating these therapy games into their treatment sessions and providing guidance on how to use them effectively at home.
To summarize, therapy games can be a valuable tool in helping children express their feelings, cope with stress, and build important social and emotional skills. Online therapy games, in particular, provide a convenient and engaging way for children to receive therapy, especially in the age of telehealth. As a therapist, using games in therapy sessions can also help to build rapport with children and make therapy more enjoyable and effective. If you are a parent, caregiver, or family friend looking to connect with a child in your life, these therapy games can be a great way to build a healthy relationship, virtually or in person.
If you or someone you know is interested in using therapy games as part of a treatment plan, consider seeking the guidance of a licensed therapist such as myself. Book an appointment today for a free 15 minute consultation. I can help identify appropriate games and activities based on the child’s specific needs and goals, as well as provide support and guidance throughout the therapy process. With the right tools and guidance, therapy games can help children develop important skills that will benefit them for years to come.