10 ways to manage holiday stress in the classroom

As we begin our holiday season here at Teach Preschool, we are reminded of the many ways our lives can feel stressful.  We’ve compiled a list of ten ways to reduce your classroom stress during this holiday season…

10 Ways to manage holiday stress in the classroom by Teach Preschool

1. Plan ahead:  Almost all teachers will have their students create some sort of gift for parents.  Determine what supplies you will need for your gift, wrapping, and cards.  Purchase your supplies well in advance to avoid the hassle of running from craft store to craft store at the last minute.

Christmas games and activities by Teach Preschool

2. Set your sights at preschool level: If all of the beautiful blogs and Pinterest posts give you inspiration to create new activities and crafts for your classroom, then look all you want.  If, however, you start to feel overwhelmed or inadequate in any way, then walk away and use the resources and ideas you already have. Remember, most of the beautiful and flawless ideas you see online are made by grown-ups and not by a large group of preschoolers.

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3.  Keep it fun and simple:  If you are making gifts, let it be fun and don’t choose something so complex that you end up doing all the work. Keep it simple and child-made!

Christmas gift and card

4.  Give yourself the gift of time:  Once you are ready to tackle the gift creating process, take it one day at a time.  If your gift involves paint or glue, be sure to give it a day or two to dry before you do your wrapping.  There is no need to make gifts, cards, and wrapping paper all in one day.  Spread it out throughout the week and be sure to make arrangements for children who will inevitably be absent during this time.

Writing on Christmas Cards

5.  Put classroom issues on the back burner, at least temporarily:  Having trouble getting your children to share or clean up?  Are you struggling to get your children’s attention during circle time?  Don’t sweat it!  As long as the children are safe in your care, small issues can wait until the holidays are passed.  Think of the New Year as a fresh start for everyone.

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6.  Plan for fun:  This time of the year can feel chaotic, with the children being a bit more ramped up than usual.  Continue to maintain your regular classroom routine and schedule, while adding in fun holiday themed elements through center play and circle times.  If you are planning a special day with a party or completely different routine, try to schedule it for the last day before break.

Christmas Party Games and Activities by Teach Preschool

7.  Don’t let the holidays get you down:  If you aren’t able to celebrate the holidays in your classroom, there are plenty of other ways to explore the season without it being holiday oriented. Winter is a wonderful time to explore snow and ice, hibernation, winter animals, and even baking.  Rather than focusing on what you can’t do, challenge yourself to make the best out of what you CAN do.

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8.  Don’t be a slave to tradition:  Don’t feel as though you have to do everything that you or your fellow teachers have always done in the past. If time or money is an issue, then give yourself a break. The children will never know otherwise.

10 ways to lessen classroom stress during the holidays by Teach Preschool

9.  Get outdoors as much as possible:  With all the excitement of the holidays, young children need to be able to go outside and run! It may be cold but time spent outside enjoying the fresh air every day will help everyone feel happier.  It will also help curtail a little bit of the classroom rambunctiousness that comes along with the holidays.

Building a snowman

10. Take care of yourself:  Holidays in the classroom are fun! It is often the shopping, wrapping, and baking outside the classroom that can be stressful. Take time to relax. Schedule a time for you to get your hair or nails done or to have coffee with a friend.  After all, you can’t be your best in the classroom if you aren’t taking good care of yourself.

10 ways to manage holiday stress in the classroom by Teach Preschool

Now it’s your turn…

Do you have any other tips for reducing classroom stress that you can share? Leave us your tips in the comments below!

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By |2013-12-01T05:00:10+00:00December 1st, 2013|

About the Author:

Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. has been working and teaching in the field of early childhood education for over 30 years. Deborah currently owns and teaches in her own part-time, private preschool called The Children’s Studio. Deborah’s deep passion for teaching and working with young children is documented and then graciously shared with millions of readers around the world through her blog and other social networking communities. Deborah believes that young children learn best through play and exploration and embraces this belief in all that she does in her own classroom so that she can effectively and passionately share rewarding, real- life, tried-and-true practices with other teachers, parents, and leaders across the field of early childhood education.


  1. Tree of Life Chidcare and Preschool December 1, 2013 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Keep always in mind what we celebrate and make sure children enjoy with you while doing any activities or making any crafts.
    It’s okay to sit down with them, flow in their conversations, stop the static in your head and ENJOY!

  2. Tree of Life Chidcare and Preschool December 1, 2013 at 9:03 am - Reply

    I thiinh that as a teacher and Childcare provider, our responsibilities are many, however, when I feel I am getting stressed, I remember the reason why I chose this profession and I make sure my mind and thoughts line up with the kids an with the present time. STATIC and noise in our heads can be the worst enemy in the classroom.

  3. Darla December 1, 2013 at 10:38 am - Reply

    All of these tips are timely advice for caregivers and teachers! Only through years of your own experience, can you share the many suggestions above! I wish you and your own students a wonderful Christmas season! TY!

  4. Jan K December 1, 2013 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    Continue to build relationships with each child. A sense of community every day, no matter what is really all you need. Keep a schedule, but linger when fun an friendship emerge out of the chaos.

  5. Stephanie Livesey December 1, 2013 at 6:02 pm - Reply

    Love these ideas! This is definitely an energetic time of year.

  6. Amanda Mason December 2, 2013 at 1:21 am - Reply

    These are wonderful tips! Thanks for continuously improving my teaching skills. I find that what Darla said is completely true, every single day I realize that I am constantly learning things to improve in all aspects of teaching my preschool class. Thank you for helping me along the way!

    Also, I agree with Jan K’s comment. I have realized that building my relationships with my students is SO important! When I am feeling stressed I just have to remind myself that first of all, the children do not care that I forgot to grab some item or whatever it is and second, they DO care about whether or not they are feeling my love for them.

  7. Marian Fritzemeier December 12, 2017 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    Thanks for providing such great ideas. Probably the take care of yourself should be at the top of the list! This will help many teachers celebrate holidays and enjoy the process with the children.

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