There is both good stress and bad stress that everyone, including children, must deal with every single day of their lives. Especially during a pandemic!
Everyone has stress of some kind. It’s a normal part of life and some people would suggest that without stress, no one would accomplish anything.
As a teacher in 2020, when there is a TON of stress in the world, you will likely be dealing with more student stress than usual.
Here are some ideas to keep in mind!
Be the Example
When it comes to stress, you have opportunities daily to teach your students how to deal with it in an optimistic way. Show them that when things are worrisome, or don’t go right, you control your own attitude and plow right through and get things done anyway.
Ask Positive Leading Questions
When you talk to students, it can help to lead them to discuss positive attributes of something by how you frame the question. “I missed seeing you this weekend. Tell me the best thing that happened to you yesterday!”
Occasionally students will focus on something negative. If possible, redirect and ask again what happened that was a GOOD thing.
When students are talking about negative experience, positively reframe it for them, for example, ‘How can you handle that next time?’. This book can help too!
Acknowledge That Kids Have Stress Too
One of the biggest mistakes that adults make is assuming that a child doesn’t feel things as strongly as an adult does. In fact, they often feeling things more deeply than adults because they don’t have practice putting their feelings in perspective. They don’t yet know that the mind controls feelings more than whatever is happening.
Enjoy Eating Together
Eating together each school day is one of the best ways to encourage conversation and reduce stress. Spending this quality time with students can result in them feeling less stressed and more connected.
Although you surely REALLY need a break at lunch, if you must be in the room with your students, role model conversation skills by talking with students as you all eat. You can learn a LOT about them this way.
Finally, try to purposefully teach children tools that help them deal with stress, such as deep breathing, grounding techniques, and positive affirmations.
To your school time success!
Have suggestions for helping students stay optimistic that I missed? Please share them below!