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How To Help Your Child Avoid High School Burnout


High school students have a lot of responsibilities on their plates. Between extracurriculars, grades, part-time jobs, exams, and balancing a large workload, it’s easy for teenagers to feel stressed.

The problem is, many high school students don’t know how to manage this stress or what to do when they feel overwhelmed.

As a result, stress builds up and can lead to an even larger issue: student burnout.

What Is Burnout?

Burnout is the build-up of stress over time that results in feeling overwhelmed and a lack of control. Once a child reaches the point of being burnt out, it becomes hard for him or her to stay motivated and accomplish tasks. 

As a result, the student’s performance starts to slip, negatively impacting both grades and overall health and wellbeing; it can be a difficult cycle to break.

Fortunately, there are ways to help your child become more resilient to stress and avoid reaching the burnout point. Read on to learn about what causes high school burnout, and how to help your child avoid it.

What Causes High School Student Burnout?

As adolescents, most high school students haven’t developed the skills needed to cope with stress, so managing stressors for the first time can be very overwhelming. 

And not only do many teenagers lack proper coping skills—high school introduces many new stressors into their lives. Some of these stressors include:

  • Exams
  • Advanced subjects
  • A larger workload than elementary school
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Applications for college and university
  • Maintaining a social life
  • New relationships

Although stress in life is normal (and not always bad), not being able to manage these stressors is what leads to burnout. So, it’s important to develop strategies with your child to help avoid reaching the point of burnout.

Tips To Help Your Child Avoid Burnout

1. Create Healthy Habits

Healthy habits improve overall wellbeing and help establish a routine that can combat stress (and ultimately burnout). Create a plan with your child to incorporate strategies for health and wellness to make sure they don’t get pushed aside.

Build a routine with your child that includes the following:

  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep each night
  • Eat healthy food and snacks
  • Set aside time each day to exercise
  • Drink plenty of water

2. Develop Stress Management Strategies

With some time management and planning, stress can be relieved. Sit down with your child and help him or her and discuss ways to better organize his or her time, and ways to identify challenges. 

Seeing a plan reassures your child that he or she can accomplish tasks and make better use of his or her time. Encourage your child to:

  • Use an agenda or another time management tool to track important deadlines
  • Create a plan for the three most important things to tackle each day
  • Use a mood tracker, and adjust his or her schedule accordingly

3. Encourage Your Child To Practise Self-Care

Practising self-care is important for boosting mood and calming the mind. There are countless self-care activities both you and your child can try. Take time to create a list of self-care activities that  interest your child, and encourage selecting an activity from the list when he or she is feeling stressed:

  • Read a book (not one required for school)
  • Listen to music
  • Colour or paint
  • Do some creative writing (like in a journal)
  • Learn how to cook or bake a new recipe
  • Watch a funny YouTube video

4. Reassure Your Child That It’s Okay To Say No

When students take on too much and are too busy to prioritize other things, it turns into a cycle of feeling overwhelmed and stressed out. If your child says ‘yes’ to everything, it can spread him or her too thin. Establishing boundaries is a great way to make sure your child isn’t taking on more than he or she can handle.

Make sure your child is aware that saying ‘no’ every now and then is perfectly okay. This might be saying ‘no’ to a friend who wants to hang out or a part-time job that asks about picking up an extra shift. 

Encourage your child to identify when he or she should say ‘no’, such as:

  • When he or she has important projects or exams to study for
  • When he or she hasn’t had a chance to relax and unwind after a busy day
  • If he or she already has other plans

5. Reassure Your Child It’s Okay To Ask For Help

Some students feel like asking for help makes them a failure while others may not know that extra help is available. By letting your child know he or she can reach out for help (and that it’s okay to do so), a big weight is lifted off his or her shoulders. Talk to your child about the support available if he or she needs it. 

Some of the individuals who can help when your child is feeling stressed are:

  • Teachers and educators
  • You or another trusted adult
  • Counsellors at school
  • Friends and family

Take Action Before Your Child Reaches Burnout

Being proactive is the first step in avoiding high school burnout. Creating a plan with your child is a great start to helping him or her develop coping skills, better manage stress, and ultimately become more resilient. 

If your child needs some extra support with difficult subjects, managing his or her time, or developing good study habits, Oxford Learning tutors are here to help!

Check out our other resources about high school and school stress:
The Most Frustrating Things About High School (According To Students)
Common Causes Of School Stress For Students
How To Prepare For College & University

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