You know the signs – you can’t concentrate, your stomach hurts. You are exhausted but you can’t sleep. It’s all signs of anxiety, and it shows up in teachers and students alike. There are a lot of students out there sitting in classrooms suffering from anxiety. Yet, you many not know it. I want to talk about some ways that we can ease students anxiety in the classroom. Let’s be real here: even though we can’t see it, we know it’s real.
You can’t tell people who are anxious to “calm down.” That is not a tactic that is going to work. We need to help their slow their brains and get more in control of their anxiety. WIth practice this is something that can be attainable. I can’t say how long it will take, but I hope that with these tips your students can be less worried and more excited.
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1. Rainbow Breathing
I love GoNoodle and so do my students. They have a variety of things that can help everyone from singing and dancing, to learning about syllables. But they also have a way that students can practice their breathing to help calm their bodies. I like to do this activity with my students after recess, or before we are going to do a challenging activity. It helps to center them and bring them back to where they need to be. Try this video in your class. Even students without anxiety will find that it calms them as well.
2. Get some fresh air!
We are cooped up in the classroom for such a long time, and sometimes kids just need to get out and run around! I know that even as the teacher I feel the need to walk around outside to calm my mind. There is noting wrong with taking a break to go on a nature walk with your students. Listen for sounds, see what you hear. Look for different signs of the season. Talk about what you like about the weather that day. Keep it positive and the students will find that they are calming down. Have you ever tried to teach to students who are anxious? It just doesn’t work. Taking some time of out the day to walk outside will make a world of difference while you are in the classroom.
3. Do some Yoga
I love using Cosmic Kids Yoga in my classroom. They have the best videos for kids. Some are long and some are short so you can find one that fits into the timeframe that you have. They have great themes when it comes to yoga as well and they offer some really good poses to get the students stretched out and moving. This video is meant to help calm students down. It would be great for either before or after a time that could be stressful to students. Give it a try!
4. Have students keep a gratitude journal
This isn’t the first time that I have discussed a gratitude journal in my blog posts. The reason for that is because I believe in them! I believe that they truly work. These gratitude journals will help students to think about the positive things in their life. It will help foster positive thoughts in their minds, which will help them have less anxiety. When your students seem overwhelmed, have them read what they have written down in the past. I bet they will see that it really helps!
5. Offer a safe space in your classroom.
I know lots of teachers who have a safe space in their classroom. I have one as well. It is filled with gadgets that the students can use to help them. I use these in my class. It helps my students to focus on something else and calm their minds. The students know that they can go there when they are feeling overwhelmed. They do not take advantage, and they really do see it as a tool to help them. If you don’t have anything like this in your room, I high suggest it!
I hope that you find some of these tips and tricks helpful for your students. If you ever need anything please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I am a real teacher, and a real person! I would love to hear from you!