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"Super Thoughts"

Seasonal Thoughts

 

As we approach the Holidays, I would like to share a few thoughts and reminders in regards to our students and schools. 

 

The Holidays are a high stress time for everyone, including students.  Students sense the stress their parents feel, internalize that emotion, and may act out more as a result.  By the nature of our school calendar, we add to the holiday stress by scheduling semester finals at this time of year as well.  Add to those factors the pressure of Holiday performances for students in band or choir, and you have a recipe for tension-induced conflict, unusually low academic performance, and even physical illness. 

 

What can we do to help our students deal effectively with stress? 

 

First, look at their schedule of activities.  Do they really need to attend every party or event to which they are invited?  Remember that even “positive” stress creates anxiety and distraction.  Be thoughtful in selecting which Holiday occasions your student attends. A quiet night at home with family can be just as rewarding as going to a party at this time of year. 

 

Remember that stress manifests in psychological and physical ways. Under stress, logical decision-making skills, memory recall, and reasoning skills all deteriorate.  If we want our students to score well on their finals, we should make every effort to reduce their stress levels.  During a season when poor choices can lead to doubly tragic accidents, our best prevention efforts might focus on reducing stress by limiting social activities.  We certainly want our students to enjoy the Holidays, but make sure they understand the heightened need for making good choices. Additionally, help them make healthy dietary choices, and insure they get plenty of exercise and sleep.  Doing so will help students ward off stress induced illness, as well as help boost their immunity against viral diseases. 

 

Routines are very comforting for students of all ages.  As much as possible, stick with established patterns during this time of year.  That includes school attendance.  Taking a “day off” to run errands might seem logical, but students who miss school end up having additional work to do without the guidance of their teacher.  Similarly, getting a jump on the Holiday vacation might be appealing, but the pressure to complete assignments early, and knowing that they will miss instruction, adds significantly to student stress. 

 

And finally, if you are inclined to give gifts at this time of year, make sure to include educational gifts.  It sends a strong message about the value of education if one of the gifts is a book or learning-focused game. Certainly, give them some of what they want, but also give them some of what they need.  A toy may bring them happiness for a few years, but a book may change their entire life for the better. 

 

Wishing you and yours

 

Happy Holidays

Mr. Newman