Stress is considered an unavoidable part of life that is important and natural for the survival of children as it allows them to learn the skills required to cope with certain circumstances in life. Some mental, physical signs and symptoms may be used to convey stress (Honing, 2010). Stress can be perceived by children in different ways. Stress may be triggered by news about the planet. Children can worry about the safety of some people they love and that of their own, causing trauma on them by disturbing pictures on the TV or worrying about natural calamities. Children’s emotional, physical health and well-being are negatively affected by living in poverty. Poverty is associated with some conditions such as food insecurity, homelessness, and substandard housing. Children from humble backgrounds are at times at a greater risk of some negative outcomes such as poor academic achievement, developmental delays, abuse, and neglect. Children, therefore, develop chronic stress that adversely affects their memory and concentration. Other sources of stress include discernment, loneliness, and injuries resulting from accidents.
Teachers can assist children to deal effectively with stress by taking time to have some fun with them. When they understand kids better by spending time and playing games for fun once in a while with them, the relationship becomes stronger, and the children are fortified to deal with stress that they may encounter in a better way. Showing respect to children is another way of assisting them to deal with stress. Just realizing that teachers care and are concerned is of great help to kids with stress. Teachers can also assist children to cope with stress by advising them to get an adequate amount of rest, eat right, slow down, get time to address their issues and concerns, and refrain from watching inappropriate television programs (Elias et al., 1985). Other ways that teachers can use include implementing anti-bullying policies and practices, developing and implementing mentoring support programs, teaching children how to recognize the signs and symptoms associated with stress. Besides, it is good to assist kids to know more about their feelings or emotions by introducing emotional learning into the school curriculum.
Although stress is normally perceived as a bad thing, it has some advantages (Sapolsky, 2000). For instance, it can motivate people to reach life goals by helping them solve their daily challenges. Besides, stress can help in the accomplishment of tasks in an efficient manner and at times boosting memories. Stress is also an important warning system as it triggers the production of the fight-or-flight response. The body is flooded with chemicals like cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, when some sought of stress, is perceived by the brain.
Elias, M. J., Gara, M., & Ubriaco, M. (1985). Sources of stress and support in children’s transition to middle school: An empirical analysis. Journal of Clinical Child Psychology, 14(2), 112-118.
Honig, A. S. (2010). Little Kids, Big Worries: Stress-Busting Tips for Early Childhood Classrooms. Brookes Publishing Company. PO Box 10624, Baltimore, MD 21285.
Sapolsky, R. M. (2000). Stress hormones: good and bad. Neurobiology of disease, 7(5), 540-542.