Helping Students Cope with Holiday Stress

Side view portrait of little boy leaning at desk with teacher and classmates in background

“The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.”

Psalm 103:8 NIV

       Not all of your students look forward to the upcoming holiday season. For many this time off brings a lot of stress and anxiety. Students may exhibit more frequent or new behaviors this time of year. The behaviors can look differently for the students in your class. You might have some students who act out verbally or physically. There may be students who start to become absent more leading up to a break, or just do not engage with peers or complete classwork as they have done in the past. Many students struggle during unstructured times such as passing periods in the hallways, recess and in the lunchroom.

     You can expect these behaviors in the coming days or weeks before a break. There are ways that you might be able to prepare your students and help them to be more successful prior to the holiday break. Some children may not have a lot of interaction with others during extended breaks from school because their parents are working, so they are left on their most of the day. Others may be grieving the loss of a family member. We don’t always know what others are going through, so it is important to show extra patience and grace for your students. Try to spend some extra time each day with these students leading up to break just to chat and continue to let them know that you care and want them to finish the semester strong. You could also create a sort of behavior contract with the student before the break. Try some fun incentives to keep your students engaged and attending school. If the student has a good day or class period, then the student gets a reward that is agreed upon by both parties. It is a positive way for both you and the student to start the holiday break.

      Feel free to leave a comment below on other ideas you have found to help students with holiday stress. Have a great week and restful weekend!

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