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5 Ways to Reduce Stress in the Classroom


Classrooms can be stressful for certain students and for all students during certain times.  Over stimulating environments or unrealistic academic expectations are two examples of what can make stress levels start to rise.  Here are 5 suggestions to help create a peaceful classroom:

  1.  Reduce visual clutter –  Psychological Science published research indicating that children in highly decorated classrooms were more distracted, spent more time off-task and demonstrated smaller learning gains than when the decorations were removed. The 24 kindergarteners were placed in laboratory classrooms that were heavily decorated or sparsely decorated and taught lessons. The following results were reported: children learned in both classroom types but they learned more when the room was not heavily decorated, children’s accuracy on the test questions was higher in the sparse classroom(55 percent correct) than in the decorated classroom(42 percent correct), and the rate of off-task behavior was higher in the decorated classroom (38.6 percent time spent off-task) than in the sparse classroom (28.4 percent time spent off-task).
  2. Reduce noise levels – Sometimes children can be LOUD!  Imagine trying to learn when the noise level is too high.  By establishing reasonable noise levels in the classroom it prevents overstimulation.  Students may need to be taught what appropriate noise levels are acceptable.  Try using a noise meter for a visual cue.
  3. Provide a quiet area for all students – establish an area in the classroom where students can go for some quiet time.  Provide noise cancelling headphones or quiet, soft music for children to calm down.  Maybe place a few pillows or comfortable seating in a corner for a calm down space.  Provide visual pictures to help students relax before a test or after a stressful situation.
  4. Maintain a routine!  When students know what to expect, stress is reduced.
  5. Set realistic expectations.  Make sure students are educated on what your expectations are to maintain a peaceful classroom.  Keep in mind as teachers and therapists, students can only sit still for so long.  Provide movement and brain breaks throughout the day.  Physical activity can help to reduce stress.  Be aware that all students are different and certain students may lack the self regulation skills to remain calm during the school day.  Try teaching students some calming strategies for the classroom.

What is your favorite, most effective tips for reducing stress in the classroom?

Reference: Medical Express. Heavily decorated classrooms disrupt attention and learning in young children. Retrieved from the web at http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-05-heavily-classrooms-disrupt-attention-young.html#nwlt on 5/28/14.

Calm Down Card Cover 1

This set of Calm Down Cards includes 30 full size photographs with calming phrases (11″ by 8.5″ page) and smaller size (4″ by 3″ cards). Print the full size cards or the smaller size cards. You could also laminate the smaller cards to place on a key ring to toss in a calm down kit. Children can simply use visual imagery with the photos to help them calm down. Another option is to view the photographs with calming phrases and music as a PowerPoint show on your computer, tablet or phone.  Find out more information.