CBT worksheets for kids (Top 3)

This page will provide you with some effective worksheets for children to regulate their thoughts and feelings that are part of their maladaptive beliefs.

Some of these worksheets have been created by us while others have been curated from reputable third-party websites.

What is a CBT worksheet for kids?

CBT worksheets for kids are designed to educate them about  the cognitive processes that they experience through accessible writing, diagrams, and examples that are relevant to them.

The kids that are administered these worksheets are guided to learn about how their thoughts, emotions, and behaviours interact and how they can go about changing their maladaptive thinking patterns. . 

CBT worksheets for children include exercises, handouts, and guides that have been carefully designed to support children to restructure their beliefs towards more positive ones and the corresponding thought patterns. 

What is CBT?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) emerged as one of the first evidence-based forms of psychological therapy which involves information gathering about experiences and reactions including thought, emotions, and behaviour that is happening in and out of the sessions. 

This form of talk therapy is designed to help people recognize unhelpful and destructive patterns of thoughts and behaviors and learn how to change them. It is based on the premise that by identifying patterns, we can reconstruct or restructure these patterns into more helpful ones.

CBT core principals posit that psychological issues and disorders are a result of negative patterns of thinking and learned patterns of behaviour. It is of the opinion that by learning coping strategies that help restore these patterns can help relieve symptoms of psychological problems.

CBT for kids, often administered by a therapist or a parent and guardian, has practical applications that can help children understand the impact of their thought patterns and learn how to replace them with more positive ones. 

It also facilitates children to discover new ways of looking at things- build more positive perspectives and also teach them how to respond to stressors in healthier ways. 

CBT for children also invites children to explore and learn  realistic strategies to improve their lives in the present with the agenda that they carry on these strategies to their adult lives. 

Automatic thoughts worksheet

One of the first strategies that are taught to children in Cognitive behavioural therapy is to help them develop an awareness of their automatic thoughts. 

What does this worksheet do?

The automatic thought worksheet for children is designed to invite the child to build an awareness of their thoughts that are automatic reactions to triggers without conscious effort. 

These automatic thoughts are often harmful and irrational when it becomes severe. This worksheet helps the child reach an important goal of identifying automatic thoughts in an effort to dismantle them.

How will this worksheet help?

This worksheet, when a child is guided to engage with it, will help them identify automatic thought reactions to triggers in their life that are often unconscious. 

It will teach them that though these thoughts are unconscious they still have a major impact on one’s mood and behaviour. 

This worksheet also invites the child to challenge these automatic thoughts- often negative- with more positive ones by taking mindful effort to consider the automatic thought and discredit it with an opposing positive thought. 

How to use this worksheet?

To use this worksheet, invite the child to sit down in a safe environment and let them know that you want to work on an exercise with them. 

Let them take a look at the prompts offered in the worksheet or you can also add more prompts that are not mentioned by important areas for the child. 

Ask them to write down the first thought that comes to their mind when they look at the prompts. Give them the assurance that they will not be judged or punished for their thoughts and have them write it down honestly.

Next ask them to challenge this thought with a more optimistic perspective. They might need a little help so provide examples from your understanding of the prompts. 

Do more of these prompt exercises all the while educating the child about why you are doing the exercise with them and why it is important to challenge these negative automatic thoughts. 

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‘Why’ rather than ‘what’ worksheet

Another negative thought that often arises is because of our own perspective of the world and other people. The why-rather-than-what worksheet is a great way to help bring an inner focus to how we feel when it comes to other people.

What does this worksheet do?

This worksheet is designed to help a child develop a retrospective approach to handling their relationships and the outside world. 

It invites a child to take a moment to reflect on why someone would behave in a certain way rather than the “what” of their behaviour. It also invites children to develop a more positive perception of others and their beliefs of other people. 

How will this worksheet help?

When done with guidance and correctly, this worksheet will help a child develop empathy for others while at the same time teach them how to respond to behaviours of others that they might not like instead of reacting to it. 

It will also help them develop a less ego-centric view of their world and help them shift their focus on the “why” of human behaviour rather than the “what” which can help them develop a deeper understanding of their own emotions and others- developing emotional awareness.

How to use this worksheet?

To use this worksheet, invite the child to reflect on various instances where they came across someone whose behaviour they did not like. 

Ask them to write down the behaviours on one column and then ask them to write down the emotion that was evoked as a result of the unwanted behaviour- what they felt in that situation. 

Next ask them to reflect on what happened and take an empathetic view of the other person and guess a few reasons as to why a person might have behaved that way. Make sure that the why does not have to do with any negative evaluation of themselves.

For example, a friend ignored them when crossing the street. The child might say that the reason why was because the friend does not like them. Avoid this kind of evaluation and instead ask them to consider alternatives that have nothing to do with them like- they were busy so they did not see them.

After they have considered why ask them to noted down the emotion they feel after this new perspective. 

Educate them about how much our thoughts- when negative- can affect your mood and our own behaviour and this can affect their relationship with someone. 

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Thinking errors worksheet

Oftentimes the perspectives we have of the world, others, and ourselves can impact our emotions and our own behaviours and this is often a result of errors in the way we think. 

The thinking error worksheet is an exercise to help children understand these errors and learn more addictive thought patterns. 

You can download this worksheet from here

What does this worksheet do?

This worksheet is designed to educate children as young as 7 years old about these maladaptive thinking errors that can impact one’s perception of themselves, others, and the world. 

These thinking errors are clinically known as Cognitive distortions which are based on irrational beliefs that a child develops as a result of various experiences- parenting, trauma, bullying etc. 

This worksheet explores these thinking errors with examples that are relevant to them and educates them about how they affect their lives. 

How will this worksheet help?

This worksheet is specifically designed to be kid friendly with colours and examples that are attractive to a child- the simple language also makes it easy for children to understand. 

When a child engages with this worksheet, they will be able to identify thinking errors as concepts, with examples, and also with examples in their own lives. 

By developing an awareness of these thinking errors, a child will be able to identify them in their own lives and make mindful effort to stop engaging with these thought processes.

How to use this worksheet?

This particular worksheet is an educative handout that requires assistance from an expeeinced guide and teacher to teach children about their thinking errors. 

Sit down with the child and tell them that you will be learning something together. 

As you go through the worksheet together make sure you take the effort to give them more examples, even if from your own life, and encourage them to identify the times they have also thought the same way. 

Teach them about these errors and why they are unhealthy and ask them to make mindful efforts to identify these thoughts the next time they come across it.  

Thoughts, feelings, and action worksheet

This particular worksheet tackles the ways in which thoughts, feelings, and behaviour affects the life of a person and how a child can help themselves. 

You can download this worksheet from here

What does this worksheet do?

Thoughts, Feelings, & Actions is a colorful CBT worksheet for children that uses simple language. The worksheet begins with educating children about the theory of CBT and how thoughts, feelings, and actions are connected. 

The worksheet then invites children to apply what they have learned about the theory into their own lives- based on their own experiences- and invites them to explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviours. 

How will this worksheet help?

This worksheet when used with mindful intent will help children develop an awareness of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviour. 

It will also help them develop an awareness of how these aspects of their experience plays out in their day to day lives. 

Moreover, the worksheet will also help them develop skills in developing more positive thought processes and alternate healthier thoughts which can help produce more positive feelings and beliefs about the world, and people around them.

How to use this worksheet?

To use this worksheet you will have to take a few minutes to explain the CBT theory to them in simple ways that a child will understand. 

Make sure you use relevant examples and answer doubts when asked. 

Then run through the examples provided and stress shows negative thoughts can also be changed into more positive ones.

Ask the children to reflect on their own lives and write down a recent event that made them feel a certain way. 

Ask them to reflect on their thoughts, feelings, and emotions without judgement. 

Stress that their thoughts might not really be true and that some of these negative thoughts could also be a result of guesses. 

Ask them to think of the event in a positive light or a less negative light, ask them to write it down and also the feelings that come up with these new perspectives.

Next ask them to consider a possible action step as a thoughtful response to the event. 

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