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LifeSkills Handbook Activity 48

This is a single activity session plan from The Lifeskills Handbook. There are 61 activity sessions altogether. The handbook is available from our resources section where you’ll also find downloadable storybooks, books and posters to help you in your work.

LifeSkills Handbooks Activity 48
Resisting Pressure Using SWISH!

Purpose of Activity: To practice a technique to help to resist pressure to take risks.

Life Skills: Self-awareness, Problem-solving


  • Puppets, if used.

Important Points

Before doing this activity, repeat the two activities from Activity 25: Identifying our problems and Activity 28: Practising making decisions.

It is important to focus on real problems and decisions that children face. Ask colleagues to help you with this session so that the children have more adult guidance. Children can make their own problem charts and discuss them with an adult they like and trust, and then come back to the next session with ideas on how this activity has helped them.

To resist risk-taking behaviour, children must be sure that they want to say NO. They must know the benefits of refusing and the alternatives or choices they have. Puppets can be used to introduce the activity.


  1. Explain that this life skills session is about the dangers of taking risks. Give an example of the kind of risks that children in the group may take. If you have already done activity 26, you can use some of the risks the children identified. Some people enjoy taking risks and others are more cautious.
  2. Ask children to give examples of the types of risks they take. Here are some examples from a group of children in India who did this activity:
  3. Ask children to think when they may take risks, for example drinking a lot of alcohol:
    • Is it at a certain time of day when they are most lonely/down?
    • Is it at a certain time of the year (birthdays, religious festivals)?
    • Is it when they are with certain people?
  4. Ask the children to discuss in pairs or groups:
    • What risk do I sometimes take?
    • Do I want to take this risk?
    • What will happen if I say NO to the risk?
    • What can I do instead of taking this risk?
  5. Explain that by saying no to the risky behaviour, they will be stronger.
  6. In pairs, the children should say to each other:
    • I am stronger because _____
    • and because of this, I don’t want to _____
    • Instead, I want to _____
  7. Encourage the children to say these sentences out loud.

You can have a break here.

  1. Ask children to lie down and close their eyes, and to visualise (imagine) the following:
    • Imagine yourself taking that risk.
    • Imagine that picture of yourself going further and further into the distance until it is a small dot.
    • Imagine from that small dot a bright picture of a new strong you coming back towards you.

For example: Segei imagined himself coughing and looking grey while smoking a cigarette. The picture disappeared into a dot in the distance and coming back he saw a picture of himself looking fit and strong, without a cigarette and with lots of people admiring him!

  1. Explain that this technique is called a SWISH because as you practice doing this you can do it faster and faster and imagine a SWISH noise. Every time you feel like taking the risk, do the SWISH pattern and this will help you to be strong.

Final discussion

Do you think you will try to use SWISH? Here are some comments from children who used SWISH for the first time.


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