The school year is upon us and, in any normal year, that often brings its own stress and anxiety. Of course, 2020 has proven to be anything but normal. How can we cope with the stress of all of the uncertainty that dominates our current landscape? We’ve put together a list of tips and resources that have proven helpful for all of us, from kindergarteners to senior executives.
Make a Sensory Box (all ages)
This is something easy to do with things you already have around your home. Put together a box (you can use a shoebox) or bag with a few items that have different tactile or sensory experiences that bring you comfort. This could be some putty, a stuffed animal, a rubber ball, a special rock, a marker or toy that has a special smell, and some spicy or sour candy. These items are great to pull out and use to help ground yourself when feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Create one and show it to your mentee, you can model using this long-used coping tactic.
Music (best for 6th grade +)
Listen to your favorite music, or create a playlist that you can queue up anytime you’re feeling stressed. Some people like to listen to relaxing music, other people like to listen to something upbeat or even have a dance party. Have your mentee teach you about what kind of music they’re into! You can share some of your favorite songs (age-appropriate, of course).
Create a Feelings Color Chart (best for K – 5th)
This can be really helpful when kids are feeling overwhelmed and not able to fully verbalize their feelings. For older kids, you can co-create a color code together and give them a chance to think about and explore their feelings. Little ones might need some guidance, The Color Monster is a great starting point for this. Keep your feelings color chart handy and check in with each other — “What color are you right now?” This will help kids learn to regularly visit and consider their feelings and strengthen social-emotional learning as they begin learning to understand how feelings, thoughts, and actions are intertwined.
Movement (all ages)
Do what works best for you, as you’re able. This page has a great library of short videos broken up by age groups for students K-12 for mindful movement. Go for a walk. Do a few jumping jacks. Dance parties and freeze dance are always great! If you’re doing one virtually with your mentee, it doesn’t have to be a “kiddie song”. (80’s tunes and nearly any electronic, soul, or funk songs are always good for this as long as lyrically appropriate.)
**A quick note about YouTube videos: Security and firewalls on students’ devices may not allow YouTube videos to play. There may be highly politicized ads and content promoted on YouTube, particularly as we are in an election year. While Seedling is sharing the specifically linked videos, we do not endorse any ads or other content that may be linked or play before or after the linked videos.