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“What we want to see is the child in pursuit of knowledge, and not knowledge in pursuit of the child.”
~ George Bernhard Shaw ~

Stress defined

Stress is a normal and unavoidable part of life. However, when stress becomes overwhelming, it can have a negative impact on our physical and mental health.  Children are especially vulnerable to stress, as they are still developing and may not have the coping mechanisms to deal with it.  Stress at home can have a significant impact on children’s academic performance, behavior, health, and social-emotional development. This stress is then compounded in the classroom because the ability to maintain focus and sit still (unless they are shut down) is impacted by the stress they are carrying. 
Learning concerns are also very stressful! The ability to learn is impacted by stress, as discussed above AND learning concerns can be the source of stress for everyone involved. Often, it is a combination of the two. Getting to the core of the problem will allow us to clearly define what the student needs and how to meet their needs.

Here is a quick look at what often shows up in the classroom: 

Academic performance

  • Children who are stressed at home may have difficulty concentrating and paying attention in school. This can lead to poor grades, missed assignments, and difficulty completing schoolwork.
  • Children with learning concerns (diagnosed or undiagnosed) share these same characteristics, becuase they do not “know” how they learn.
  • They may also be more likely to procrastinate on assignments or not turn them in on time.


  • Stressed children may act out in school, such as by being disruptive or aggressive. They may also withdraw from social activities or become depressed.


  • Stress can make it difficult for children to sleep, which can lead to fatigue and difficulty concentrating. It can also lead to headaches, stomachaches, and other physical problems.
  • Stress can also weaken the immune system, making children more vulnerable to illness.

Social-emotional development:

  • Stress can interfere with children’s ability to form healthy relationships with their peers and teachers. It can also make them more vulnerable to anxiety and depression.

Not only is it important to identify and address stress in children as early as possible, but it requires a balance and stress-free response from the adult caregivers in children’s lives.  This can be a challenge because there isn’t a lot of support for educators in managing stress at the level that it comes at us these days. There are a number of things that parents and teachers can do to help children cope with stress, such as:

  • Talking to children about stress and how to manage it
  • Teaching children relaxation techniques
  • Encouraging children to get enough sleep and exercise
  • Providing a supportive and nurturing home environment
  • Seeking professional help if needed – this is me!

By taking steps to address stress in our own lives, we can help children by modelling and practicing these skills together.  Ultimately this will help students to thrive in school and in life and this is what I am here to help you with. 

Article: How stress at home can impact children

  • The people around a student can increase or decrease the abilities of the student.  
  • The people around a student are those who spend the most time with them, parents/guardians and educators.
    • In the case of adult learners – parents/guardians are replaced by peers or their own family unit.
  • Together, this triad can increase student achievement and increase motivation, simply by listening and supporting them.
  • A student’s focus can increase exponentially when they are supported enough to feel comfortable asking questions, discovering weaknesses and admitting errors.

“Clearly, the new brain research on emotional engagement demonstrates strongly that people’s brains are more receptive to learning if they have a relationship with the teacher.”
~ Wendy Constantine ~



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