10 ways to manage holiday stress in the classroom

As we begin our holiday season here at Teach Preschool, we are reminded of the many ways our lives can feel stressful.  We’ve compiled a list of ten ways to reduce your classroom stress during this holiday season…

10 Ways to manage holiday stress in the classroom by Teach Preschool

1. Plan ahead:  Almost all teachers will have their students create some sort of gift for parents.  Determine what supplies you will need for your gift, wrapping, and cards.  Purchase your supplies well in advance to avoid the hassle of running from craft store to craft store at the last minute.

Christmas games and activities by Teach Preschool

2. Set your sights at preschool level: If all of the beautiful blogs and Pinterest posts give you inspiration to create new activities and crafts for your classroom, then look all you want.  If, however, you start to feel overwhelmed or inadequate in any way, then walk away and use the resources and ideas you already have. Remember, most of the beautiful and flawless ideas you see online are made by grown-ups and not by a large group of preschoolers.

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3.  Keep it fun and simple:  If you are making gifts, let it be fun and don’t choose something so complex that you end up doing all the work. Keep it simple and child-made!

Christmas gift and card

4.  Give yourself the gift of time:  Once you are ready to tackle the gift creating process, take it one day at a time.  If your gift involves paint or glue, be sure to give it a day or two to dry before you do your wrapping.  There is no need to make gifts, cards, and wrapping paper all in one day.  Spread it out throughout the week and be sure to make arrangements for children who will inevitably be absent during this time.

Writing on Christmas Cards

5.  Put classroom issues on the back burner, at least temporarily:  Having trouble getting your children to share or clean up?  Are you struggling to get your children’s attention during circle time?  Don’t sweat it!  As long as the children are safe in your care, small issues can wait until the holidays are passed.  Think of the New Year as a fresh start for everyone.

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6.  Plan for fun:  This time of the year can feel chaotic, with the children being a bit more ramped up than usual.  Continue to maintain your regular classroom routine and schedule, while adding in fun holiday themed elements through center play and circle times.  If you are planning a special day with a party or completely different routine, try to schedule it for the last day before break.

Christmas Party Games and Activities by Teach Preschool

7.  Don’t let the holidays get you down:  If you aren’t able to celebrate the holidays in your classroom, there are plenty of other ways to explore the season without it being holiday oriented. Winter is a wonderful time to explore snow and ice, hibernation, winter animals, and even baking.  Rather than focusing on what you can’t do, challenge yourself to make the best out of what you CAN do.

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8.  Don’t be a slave to tradition:  Don’t feel as though you have to do everything that you or your fellow teachers have always done in the past. If time or money is an issue, then give yourself a break. The children will never know otherwise.

10 ways to lessen classroom stress during the holidays by Teach Preschool

9.  Get outdoors as much as possible:  With all the excitement of the holidays, young children need to be able to go outside and run! It may be cold but time spent outside enjoying the fresh air every day will help everyone feel happier.  It will also help curtail a little bit of the classroom rambunctiousness that comes along with the holidays.

Building a snowman

10. Take care of yourself:  Holidays in the classroom are fun! It is often the shopping, wrapping, and baking outside the classroom that can be stressful. Take time to relax. Schedule a time for you to get your hair or nails done or to have coffee with a friend.  After all, you can’t be your best in the classroom if you aren’t taking good care of yourself.

10 ways to manage holiday stress in the classroom by Teach Preschool

Now it’s your turn…

Do you have any other tips for reducing classroom stress that you can share? Leave us your tips in the comments below!

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By | December 1st, 2013|Categories: Christmas, Holiday Ideas|Tags: , , |6 Comments

Managing teacher stress in the early childhood environment

Having worked in early childhood education for over 25 years, I understand and personally know that teaching can be both rewarding and stressful.  Teacher stress was the topic of today’s Bam Radio Show broadcast which I invite you to take a listen. I will give a short recap of some of the points I found to be most helpful but these experts really understand that stress is real and that it needs to be managed wisely so we, as teachers, can keep our joy…

Handling Teacher Stress: Increase The Positive, Decrease The Negative
Rae Pica with  Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner, Jeff Johnson, Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed.

Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner, Jeff Johnson, and Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed.

You can listen to this broadcast by clicking here or here!

What contributes to teacher stress?

There are so many things that can contribute to teacher stress. The experts in the Bam Radio Show suggest a few and I have added a few of my own as well.  Stress can be caused by…

  • A lack of money or resources to do the things you want or need in your classroom. Often times, we see great ideas that we would love to try or new equipment we would love to have but don’t have the resources to make things happen.
  • Working with lots of other people.  Spending every day working with other people, both big and little, can naturally wear a person out.
  • Not having time for breaks throughout the day. There are some childcare environments where the teachers are not given time away from their classroom throughout the day. A home teaching environment would also be an example of working all day without a real break.
  • Constant changes in rules and regulations imposed by others. Whether they are imposed by licensing agencies or administrators, change can add to a teacher’s level of stress.
  • A lack of personal interest, education, or continuous professional development can also lead to added stress.  We all need to feel invested in what we do in order to find joy and we all need to feel like we are growing in the process.
  • A lack of moral support and recognition for a job well done. We all need a pat on the back every once in awhile.
  • The inability to say ‘no.”  As teachers, we want to invest in others so we tend to get ourselves over-committed and we just hate to tell someone “no.”

What can you do to help alleviate teacher stress?

Not all stress is bad. Stress can push us to do our very best and challenge us to grow and learn.  However, not all stress is good either. The experts on the Bam Radio Show offer up a few tips for helping teachers manage stress wisely…

  • Start off your day by taking a few minutes for yourself. Take that time to relax, breath, or to just sit still.  A few minutes of quiet time each morning can help you start your day a little more relaxed.
  • Learn to say “no” to occasions that will take up your free time. As a teacher, there are always opportunities to share your talents but you need to be smart about it. Protect your free time and use it to take care of yourself.
  • Look for opportunities to grow in your profession and/or education. Learning new things such as new teaching techniques, child development, or finding new ideas to do in music/art/math/science can be inspiring and exciting. Learning new ideas can make you want to get up everyday and rush to the classroom to try them out. Fill up your tank by taking advantages of opportunities to learn.  You can attend conferences, read professional journals, take classes in early childhood education, or even read blogs like this one!
  • Invest time in the classroom doing more of something you love. If you are passionate about the arts or exercise or technology then look for opportunities to share your talents and passion with your students.
  • Find others who share your love for teaching. Build yourself a network of support so you can brainstorm ideas, cheer each other on, and help each other find solutions.
I am sure there are other ideas you have for successfully managing stress in your day.  Feel free to share them here with us!…..