How To Help Your Child Deal With School Stress
Kids of all ages can experience stress at school.
Grades for college, an upcoming test or exam, homework assignments can all weigh on the minds of students and create extra stress and anxiety.
How Stress Impacts Students
There’s no getting around the fact that school can sometimes be stressful—but stress isn’t always a bad thing.
In fact, a bit of stress can actually be good, encouraging students to work harder and learn to perform better under high pressure situations, like during tests and exams.
But too much stress starts to hurt a student’s ability to perform.
High levels of stress impact a student’s ability to concentrate, memorize, and achieve good grades. Too much stress can lead to both mental and physical health problems for students, and create a cycle of poor grades, low confidence… and even more stress.
Dealing With School Stress
The causes of school stress can be different for each student, but can all lead to the same negative impacts on academic performance. This makes learning how to manage and reduce stress at school an important skill for all students to master.
Your child won’t always be able to completely avoid school stress. But once he or she knows how to handle school stress, your child will be able to learn more effectively.
Check out these 11 tips to help your child overcome school stress, and become a happier, more confident student.
How To Help Your Child Relieve School Stress
- Look for signs of school-related stress
- Identify causes of school stress
- Avoid over-scheduling
- Prioritize your tasks
- Get involved in extracurricular activities
- Make time for family and friends
- Follow a bedtime routine
- Reframe negative thoughts
- Set achievable goals
- Talk to the teacher or school counselor
Keep an eye out for signs that your child is overwhelmed by stress at school, especially if he or she has a lot of upcoming tests or assignments. Some of these signs can include: headaches, stomach aches, procrastination, and a reluctance to go to school.
If your child seems stressed and frustrated, sit down with him or her and figure out what is causing the stress. Is it a particular class or subject? An upcoming test or assignment? His or her performance or grades? Once you know the main cause of stress, you can start working toward solving the issue.
Having a structured schedule can help keep students focused and on track, but taking on too much can become a source of stress and anxiety. Between time spent in class, completing homework, and extracurricular activities, schedule free time for your child to do whatever he or she wants. This downtime gives him or her a chance to relax, de-stress, and recharge.
If your child has too much to do between school, activities, and responsibilities, sit down and rank each in order of importance. Have him or her tackle the most important tasks first. If this is happening on a daily or weekly basis, consider whether extracurriculars are taking too much time from school work or if there are time management tips that your child can use to help avoid an overbooked schedule.
It’s important to make sure your child has enough time to get everything done—but every student needs a break from school work to avoid burning him or herself out. Signing up for an extracurricular activity or making time for exercise can help your child cope with stress by giving him or her a chance to take a break and work off any frustration.
Another way to make sure your child doesn’t burn him or herself out is to make time to spend with friends and family. This can be as simple as having family mealtime together every night. This can also be an opportunity to ask your child how school is going and listen to any issues he or she might be having in class.
Making sure your child is getting enough sleep is always important, and this is especially true if he or she is feeling stressed. Following a bedtime routine can help manage stress by setting a cutoff time for school work and providing time to wind down and relax. Aim for your child to get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep each night so he or she is rested and energized for the next day.
Negative thoughts can have a big impact on a child’s stress levels, and can create a cycle of stress and negativity that is hard to break. Instead of thinking about how stressful a project or assignment is, help your child think about how he or she can make the situation less stressful. This might include breaking a task into smaller chunks or creating a schedule.
Setting expectations that are too high can quickly lead to extra stress for students. Setting smaller, realistic goals can help your child achieve more, reduce stress, and boost academic performance. For example, rather than aiming to get an A+ in a subject, help your child set a goal to earn a grade higher than his or her previous report card.
Disorganization can be another major factor of increased school stress. Help your child create a system to keep his or her work, assignments, and materials organized so he or she always has what is needed. Students who are more organized tend to do better in school and experience less stress—so becoming a more organized student is important!
If your child is still feeling high levels of stress, make an appointment to talk to his or her teacher or school counselor. This is an easy way to get more information about how your child performs and behaves in class. The teacher or counselor will be able to help you and your child identify what is causing stress and create a plan of action to tackle those issues together.
Is your child struggling? We’re here to help! Contact your nearest Oxford Learning Centre today.