Coping with Stress
To help students feel good about themselves and to develop strategies and skills for coping with stress.
Children in grades 4-6 feel basically good about themselves. Increasingly, though, if they experience criticism at home or school, have peer relationship problems, or are concerned about their physical growth and changes, they may begin to have self-doubts. Children at this age level need to develop strategies and skills for dealing with the stress caused by their doubts and problems. An important coping strategy is to develop exercise skills and habits. Physical exercise relieves stress, energizes the body, and clears the mind. Many children in our society tend to be sedentary and lack exercise habits and skills. Although some children in grades 4-6 participate regularly in competitive sports, many need a special push to develop simple exercise regimes that can promote mental and physical health and provide an alternative to drugs.
Using the pictures on the accompanying page to generate ideas, have students talk about the physical activities that they do and how they feel when they do them.
Have students talk about physical activities they would like to try and why they have not done them.
Using the Exercise Chart, ask each student to record their physical activity away from school for two weeks. At the end of that time, have students bring in their charts. Then discuss what kinds of exercises they did, how they felt about those activities, and whether a regular fitness regime has made a difference in their lives.
A copy of the Exercise Chart for each student.
• Emphasize that a regular exercise plan does not have to involve competition, team activities, or expensive equipment.
• Emphasize that rewards for exercising regularly are earned both now and in the future.
• Be sure that students do not feel undue pressure to do a specific amount of exercise.
Learning to Live Drug-Free, A Curriculum Model for Prevention, U.S. Department of Education's Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program