School Social Worker
Hi, I am Mrs.
Kamien the school social worker at
What is STRESS?
Everyone is affected by stress and reacts to it in a different ways. Stress is a way that our body responds to the demands made upon us by the environment, our relationships, and our perceptions and interpretations of those demands. We all experience “good stress” and “bad stress”.
Good stress is the amount of stress that results in our feeling energized and motivated to do our best work. Good stress encourages us to develop effective coping strategies to deal with our challenges.
Bad stress occurs when our coping mechanisms are overwhelmed by the stress and we do not function at our best. Stress can become distress when we are unable to cope or when we believe that we do not have the ability to meet the challenge. The solution is to adapt, change and to find methods to turn bad stress into good stress.
Causes of Stress:
· At School: Stress can come from an unstructured classroom, unclear or unreasonable expectations, or fear of failure.
· At Home: Stress can occur through a lack of family routines, over-scheduling, prolonged or serious illness, poor nutrition, change in family situation, financial problems, family strife or abuse, or unclear or unreasonable expectations.
· Peer-Related: Stress can be a result of changing school buildings, having to deal with a bully, fitting in with the crowd, or moving to a new community.
Symptoms of Stress in Children:
· Irritability or unusual emotionality or volatility
· Sleep difficulty or nightmares
· Inability to concentrate
· Drop in grades or other functioning
· Toileting or eating concerns
· Headaches or stomachaches
· Unexplained fears or increased anxiety (also clinging)
· Regression to earlier developmental levels
· Isolation from family activities or peer relationships
· Drug or alcohol experimentation
Factors that Help Prevent Stress:
· Positive problem solving and coping skills
· Close, supportive relationships at home and school with peers and adults
· Clear expectations
· Reassurance that it is ok to learn from mistakes
· Ability to express feelings appropriately
· Feeling physically and emotionally safe
· Good nutrition and exercise
· Time to relax and do recreational activities
How Parents Can Help:
· Be aware of your child’s behavior and emotions
· Build trust with your child
· Be available to open to talk with your child when they are ready
· Encourage the expression of feelings
· Teach and model good emotional response
· Encourage physical activity, good nutrition and rest
· Monitor TV programs that could worry your child and pay attention to the use of computer games, movies, cell phone use and the internet
· Keep your child aware of anticipated family changes, in an age appropriate way
· Remind your child of his or her ability to get through tough times with the love and support of family and friends
· Help your child select appropriate extracurricular activities and limit over –scheduling
Adapted from: “Stress in Children: Strategies for Parents and Educators,” Ellis P. Copeland, Helping Children at Home and School II: Handouts for Families and Educators, NASP, 2004
Association of School Psychologists -
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