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Classful

School can be just as stressful for students as it is for teachers.

With so many expectations, responsibilities, and rules placed on their shoulders, it’s no wonder education can be a serious source of stress. But as any good teacher should, helping students navigate stressful times to succeed can be incredibly rewarding. There are a million reasons why children might be stressed, including:

  • Pressure to succeed in school from parents or teachers
  • A stressful or difficult home life
  • Temporary issues or changes in school or at home

One size doesn’t fit all regarding the stress we experience. But how we react to that stress can make all the difference. Learning stress-reducing habits early is incredibly valuable for your students and can be the foundation for better regulating their emotions later in life.

So how can we help our class reduce stress, enjoy school more, and calm their minds? It may seem like a difficult task, but there are a few easy options to help you maintain a stress-free classroom with happier students. Read on for a few exercises to help reduce anxiety and promote self-control.

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Mindfulness

You’ve likely heard the term mindfulness used in different concepts. From social media influencers to parenting blogs, mindfulness is a buzzword for busting stress. But despite it being a relatively new concept, it’s still highly effective when working with children. Mindfulness allows kids to be entirely in the ‘now’ without worrying about the past or the future.

In traditional mindfulness sessions, your students are invited to sit quietly with their eyes closed and be in the moment. While it takes a little practice, children can learn to pay attention to their breath or sounds around them instead of turning their thoughts internally. Mindfulness doesn’t just help with focus, though it is beneficial in that way. It also permits your students to let go of the stressors and things surrounding them and focus solely on themselves.

Breathing Techniques

A simple yet highly effective way to restore calm, breathing, and movement can offer an easy way for students to turn their focus on themselves. These techniques provide comfort at the moment and can have long-term benefits when dealing with stress in the future. A mind-body exercise that focuses on this simplification is called deep belly breathing. As part of this, students should either sit or stand straight and take deep, consistent breaths that fill their stomachs and empty slowly.

These techniques can then be carried over into more advanced breathing exercises that incorporate the whole body. Muscle relaxation is a popular choice, where students are encouraged to be aware of each muscle and part of the body. Following the teacher’s voice, the children are encouraged to release tension individually from each part of the body for full relaxation. Not only does this require students to be in the moment, but it also provides them with something calming to focus on.

Colouring and Drawing

A more engaging and active way to focus the mind and reduce stress, drawing and coloring can offer students an escape to reduce tension. Quiet concentration and focus are required to draw within the lines and produce something that looks beautiful. This technique is also ideal for students to take home with them as an activity to ‘shut off’ if their evenings are as stressful as their school day.

What stress-busting techniques do you use in your classroom?