The end of the year is filled with a lot of pressure and stress for both students and teachers alike. Between testing and report cards, to uncertainty about next year, the stress can build up. As all really good teachers know, the key to teaching students is to give them the tools to do things on their own. In the case of stress management, those tools include relaxation strategies that they can carry with them for years to come. Try some of the ideas below to help your students channel their stress and cope effectively with pressures both in and out of school.
Relaxation Techniques for the Classroom
Whether you use play doh or a squishy ball, giving students something to manipulate with their hands while listening to a story or trying to relax can be very helpful. It helps them channel their nervous energy into a physical outlet without causing a lot of distraction. When introducing the balls to the students, be sure to emphasize that they should remain in contact with their hands at all times.
Yoga is traditionally seen as an adult exercise and relaxation routine, but it is also beneficial for children. Teach your students some simple yoga poses that help them calm their minds and focus inwards. This is a great way to break up afternoon stress or get them ready and focused before a test.
Sometimes all students need is a chance to draw and color their emotions. Have designated “Relaxation Art Journals” and encourage students to draw, color, or write in them during a designated time in the daily schedule. Play soothing music and set a gentle timer to let students know when relaxation time is over.
Head to Toe
Progressive body relaxation is perfect for helping students relax. If possible, have them stretch out on the floor and guide them through relaxing their bodies using verbal cues. Start with the head and neck and move all the way to the toes. If students cannot stretch out on the floor, have them sit at their desks with their heads down as you go through the exercise.
Helping students relax and teaching them how to relieve their stress is just as important as any of the basic skills in the curriculum. Equip your students with relaxation techniques that will benefit them in your classroom, as well as throughout life. It can make a significant difference in how they handle life’s stresses.