Classroom Stress Relief Strategies for Kids

Students today are more stressed than any time in history.  Causes of stress may  include social pressures, family conflict, food/housing insecurity, struggles with identity or self-esteem, academic pressures, and life transitions. Any stressor can significantly impact a child’s mental health. Equipping students with coping mechanisms within the classroom setting is critical for their overall well-being.

Here are three coping skills that you might not have thought of that can be used in the classroom to begin or end a lesson:


Stretching can be a more active way to create focused energy. These are also great for starting the day. They can help alleviate mental strain by loosening tense muscles and promoting relaxation. Be mindful of offering modifications for any students who may have difficulty with a particular movement. You can create your own with a few simple moves or you can use a video.

Here are a couple of YouTube Channels that offer yoga and stretching activities for kids:


There was teacher in a school that I worked in who started every day with  energizing music and dance. The students loved it! As a counselor, you can begin each  lesson with dance too. Play something that also offers a positive empowering message and you have a double win! For the younger grades you can also provide puppets and let the puppets “dance” to the music.

What if you have some students who feel self conscious dancing? Provide an alternative option. Can they just sit, close their eyes and listen? Could they draw what the music says to them? These options might also be an activity for everyone on some occasions to provide some variety.

  • Need a classroom dance and movement Youtube option? Try Go Noodle.


Mindfulness is the practice of being present and focused in the moment. Introducing brief mindfulness sessions within the classroom environment provides children with a space to cultivate inner calm and enhance focus. Simple mindfulness exercises offer them a chance to center themselves, especially after a transition from a time like recess.

Here is a great Mindfulness Exercise from Meditation for the Modern Family by Kelly Smith

  • Have students get comfortable and close their eyes.
  • Have students take a few deep breathes
  • Call out each of the senses and ask students to notice:
    • What do you hear?
    • What do you smell?
    • What do you feel?
    • What do you taste?
    • Open your eyes, What do you see?
  • You might have the students repeat this a few times, by starting over with taking a deep breath and closing their eyes.
  • Here’s another YouTube Channel that has a variety of engaging activities for kids:

Beginning or endling a classroom lesson with simple yet impactful coping techniques like stretching, dancing, and mindfulness, counselors can not only enhance their student’s current mental well-being but also teach coping skills they can use outside of the classroom in their personal life. 

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