Children have big emotions, but they aren’t always good at dealing with their big emotions without temper tantrums, tattling, and tears. Teachers often spend time helping children work through their issues, which can take a lot of time away from lessons and hands-on learning. Luckily, there are many quick ways to help students feel better that are easy to implement and that really work. Here are ten of the best ones.

1. Hand students a wet paper towel

For some reason, a wet paper towel is a magical way to make kids feel better. Too hot after recess? A wet paper towel will cool students down. Fell and scraped a knee or elbow? A wet paper towel will help ease the pain. Itchy eye or headache? A wet paper towel will stop the complaining. So many irritations can be solved with a quick offer of a wet paper towel!

2. A special delivery makes any and all students feel better

Give students a special delivery
Source: Imaginables

Distraction is a great way to shift a student’s focus from how they feel. Asking that student to make a special delivery for you is a fun way to distract them. Keep a large manila envelope on hand with the words “Special Delivery” or “Top Secret” on the outside. The envelope can be empty, or it can be filled with blank paper, funny memes, or uplifting quotes. When a student needs a distraction, they can deliver the envelope to the school office or to another classroom. Chances are when they return, they’ll feel a lot better.

3. Give students stuffed animal cuddle time

A quick cuddle is a guaranteed way to comfort a student, but teachers don’t always have time to offer a cuddle. That’s where stuffed animals can make all the difference in your classroom. A box of furry friends will allow your students to seek comfort whenever they need it. As a bonus, giving students the independence to find solace independently will help them be better prepared to comfort themselves in the future.

4. Have them vent their emotions in a tattle book

A blank spiral notebook somewhere in the classroom gives students a chance to write down what’s bothering them. Many teachers spend too much time figuring out all the tattles after recess or specials, and a tattle book lets students air their concerns without the teacher having to give up instruction and learning time. Regular reading of the tattle book will also allow teachers to stay on top of genuine problems while also getting a good laugh about the things that don’t matter.

5. Use a timer for student breaks

Just like adults, sometimes all kids need is a few minutes to sit in a quiet place and take deep breaths. Keeping a few sand or digital timers handy in the classroom is an easy way to provide students with this time. When a student is upset about something, let them choose a timer and a quiet spot to breathe. After two or three minutes, they can quietly rejoin the rest of the class without causing a disruption. Chances are, they will return calm and ready to learn.

6. Pop a mint into their mouth

Letting kids eat candy at school all the time is bound to upset parents, but mints have magical properties and can be used sparingly to make students feel better. There is some medical evidence that suggests that peppermint can help settle the stomach so students who are complaining that they don’t feel good might really end up feeling better after sucking on a mint. Peppermint can also give a boost of energy, which can motivate students to shake it off and get back to work.

7. Give a compliment

Sometimes all it takes to turn a bad mood around is to hear something nice. A genuine compliment is highly likely to make a sad student smile. Teacher compliments are great, but having a friend or peer come up with a compliment is also a powerful way to cheer up your students and make them feel better about whatever is bothering them.

8. Put a bit of music on

Kids love music, and tunes are a great way to bring a sense of calm into the classroom even if it’s just one child feeling poorly. There is nothing wrong with postponing your original lesson plan just to listen to some music for a couple minutes. It’s hard to feel sad when you’re dancing to an upbeat song and it’s hard to stay angry when listening to soothing instrumental music. Taking time to meet students where they are emotionally helps in the short term, but it also sends the message to the kids that you value their overall health and not just their education.

9. Pull out the stickers

Source: Alphabugs

It’s so exciting to see a sticker on a graded paper because kids love stickers. Be generous with your stickers and you’ll likely see a lot of smiles from your students. A sad or upset child can be instantly cheered by being allowed to choose a sticker to wear. A student complaining of a minor physical issue, such as itchy eyes or a scraped knee, might feel better at the distraction of selecting a sticker. For such a small amount of money, stickers are magical tools for all teachers.

10. Let students draw on the whiteboard

Most students love the chance to draw on the whiteboard and you can use that love to help kids deal with their emotions and feelings. Have students draw or write what’s bothering them and then erase it. The act of drawing or writing is calming and then erasing the problem is a good way to help students begin to move past what they are feeling. Small personal whiteboards are even better because students can keep their feelings private or can take the whiteboard to a quiet spot to work.

Next time one of your students is having a meltdown or complaining that something hurts, try one of these tips, and your classroom will be back on track in no time!

10 Things that Magically Make Sick or Sad Students Feel Better