The end of the year can be a stressful time for everyone. Families and educators may be juggling work commitments, family and social events and planning for holidays.
End-of-year celebrations, finalising portfolios and transition reports, staff changes and planning for the coming year all take their toll …
What does this mean for our stress levels?
The stress we might be feeling is not just anxiety about the events themselves—it’s also about the loss of routine and the security that gives us. Time pressures can lead to sleep, exercise and healthy eating disruptions.
What happens when we’re stressed?
- feel overwhelmed
- become less patient
- become forgetful and distracted with less time to give others
- exhibit behaviours more typical of younger children
- have shorter concentration spans showing less capacity to follow instructions
- test previously established boundaries
- have more heightened emotions (be more likely to cry or act out)
Supporting each other and beating stress
The good thing to remember is that by the end of the year, most relationships between educators, children and families are generally well established and we’re able to anticipate difficulties and be responsive.
Here are some ideas for staying calm and connected in your school or service:
- Maintain physical and emotional connections with children on an individual level. In all the busyness, keeping the personal connection is just as important as at any other time of year.
- Try to keep routines as intact as possible. Establishing a sense of calm predictability will reduce tension, especially at busy times of day. Maintain rituals such as lunch or rest times. This provides everyone with a sense of familiarity and structure.
- Keep a core of known, favourite experiences for children to engage with as they go throughout of routine celebrations. These might be sensory and creative materials such as playdough, clay, painting, drawing or dramatic play props or spaces to spend time in alone—whatever the children normally enjoy.
- Also, keep part of the room familiar, arranged as it usually is and use visual supports to assist memory—timetables of events and communicate any changes. Children may need to hear and see extra detail about what is happening next.
Remember to be kind to yourself and others. There is a lot going on and things can feel very demanding. Try not to expect perfection, from yourself or others.
Happy holidays from everyone at Be You.
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