Thursday, December 13, 2018

Treats! Presents! Celebrations!

Stress. Routine. Dread.

“The mind and body affect each other. Unmanaged stress can affect children physically, socially and emotionally. It is worth exposing children to relaxation techniques.” 
Patricia Arcari, PhD, RN, Associate in Medicine, Harvard Medical School/Mind Body Medical Institute. 

 This is the time of the year when there is heightened excitement in the air.

Kids are excited and may not be as focused. It is important to remember that although this time of the year brings excitement, it also brings some hard feelings for many other students. Parents may be stressed and the kids are feeling this. Many of our kids have experienced trauma in Bismarck Schools, we are working closely with Trauma experts and learning about what to “look for”. Many students have experienced some type of trauma in their lives but this will not look the same for any individual. Just as every child has an individual learning style, each child will be affected differently by trauma. Children handle trauma in different ways. Some will shut down. Some will act out. For some students, we may not even know they are exposed to trauma because this is how they have lived their whole life.

According to an article “Stress and Your Child” published in 2009 by the American Academy of Pediatrics “many parents believe that their school-age children are unaware of the stresses around them and are somehow immune to them. Yet children are very sensitive to the changes around them.” As teachers, what can we look for? Behavior changes, tiredness, heightened sensitivities, unusual changes such as not having a snack, stomach aches, kids saying “I don’t feel good”, or issues with friends. As parents, we may notice more irritability, more whining, difficulty sleeping and even defiance. You may hear more “I wants” or “so and so gets to do this”.

To help manage stress during this time of the year, try to keep things simple. Do not overschedule your family.  It is important for us to stay consistent with our kids. Stay with routines that kids know. Kids do well with routines. It is important for us to keep as many things consistent as we can. Keep night time routines consistent. Keep bedtimes consistent. Keep routines during the school day consistent. We may be the only consistency that they have.

Let go of what is not needed. Keeping it simple can help this season be successful.

Twitter Questions:

Q1: What have you let go this season?
Q2: What are signs you are noticing in students affected by trauma?
Q3: How are you helping your students that are experiencing trauma or stress?
Q4: What are effective ways to keep consistency in the classroom?
Q5: How do you stay out of the “holiday trap” that society has set?