Middle school can be a transformative period. For students, this is a time and place where they are growing, developing, and figuring out who they are. Between balancing homework loads, after-school activities, friendships, home life, and more, middle school can be a fun and exciting time, but it can also be difficult and overwhelming. It’s a period when students may begin to struggle with their mental health.
For many middle school students, they are learning what it means to take care of their wellness and learning to manage feelings and emotions. It can be exhausting.
Now, more than ever, we have to talk about mental health with middle school students. To get those conversations started, we have created a few activities that teachers can implement in their classes. Each activity introduces the topic of mental health and wellness—whether that means being honest with how they are doing, creating self-care plans to take care of themselves, learning to express and accept positive self-talk and encouragement, regulating their emotions through breathing exercises, or discovering how to identify and express their feelings.
These activities can be implemented at any point during the school day and can take 10-20 minutes.
Each activity can be done as a stand-alone activity or all of them can be spread out throughout the school year.
Middle schoolers need a safe place to share their feelings, but they don’t always know how to ask for or create that space. Checking In presents middle schoolers with an opportunity to take a moment, share, and reflect on their feelings. It’s a chance to validate their experiences, while also recognizing that others might be feeling the same.
Taking a moment to pause and breathe can help students center themselves and work toward calmness. Breathing Through It invites teachers to give their class space to do exactly that by implementing breathing exercises into the school day. Focusing on the breath can alleviate intense emotions and help us process them.
It is important to teach students the importance of caring for themselves and how they can make that care a priority. Practicing Self-Care invites middle school students to understand and explore different ways to practice self-care and create self-care plans.
Feelings and emotions can be a lot to manage and communicate—especially as a middle schooler. What Are You Feeling? invites students to explore new ways to express and process their feelings/emotions.
In a moment of struggle, stress, or discouragement, students need to know they have a place to go. Take What You Need aims to help students create moments of hope and find encouragement when they need it most through positive guidance and self-talk.