The days leading up to vacations are generally quite trying for teachers. We see behaviors that have not manifested in the past or ones that have heightened in frequency and intensity. It is not a coincidence that we see these behavioral upticks around the holiday season. Holidays are not just stressful for adults. Many of our children find the holiday season and the vacation from school to be a time where they are forced to face the unknown. For many, their teacher is the most consistent person in their life. The person who makes sure that they get a hot breakfast and lunch each day. The person that notices they walked in without gloves or a hat, and makes sure to find a whole set before recess. The person that takes the time each day to ask them how they are doing.
So as we count down the days until break, let us keep in mind that for some, each link that we pull off of our holiday chain might mean that they are one day closer to two weeks of uncertainty. For those, recognize the acting out as what it really is—anxiety and fear of the unknown. Give them a hug and be sure to let them know that you will see them soon!
I have created a “reverse holiday chain.” Making this chain and letting the kiddos know that you will be counting down the days until you see them again can mean a lot. Some kids may also like to take a chain home for their own personal countdown!