Stress Management for Children and Adults

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Children and adults experience stress alike. Unlike adults, however, children may not know exactly what is happening to them when stress takes over. During the holidays, Jessie may notice that she feels different than normal; depending on Jessie’s age, she may be able to vocalize that she is feeling stressed.

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When asked to describe her feelings, Jessie may be able to explain symptoms of distress, such as shortness of breath or rapid breathing, fatigue, agitation, anxiety, etc. This distress may carry over to the classroom, where lack of motivation or concentration to complete tasks is apparent (if she is even able to make it to school). Whether or not Jessie understands what is happening to her, her lack of education and/or practice with stress management strategies is inhibiting her from successfully managing stress that comes during the holidays. It is crucial to educate Jessie (and the rest of the class) to listen to her body and be in tune with what she is feeling. Before getting into teaching Jessie how to manage her stress, I would want to provide her with the ability to understand why stress exists, what stressors she typically encounters, and what strategies she can use to conquer her stress.

Starting from the beginning, I would inform Jessie that stress is a feeling of powerful emotions that can cause us to react to a situation. There is good stress (eustress) and there is bad stress (distress). The good stress helps us accomplish tasks, such as scoring a goal in soccer. The bad stress brings on negative emotions and can keep us from accomplishing tasks,

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