Everyone deals with stress. In small amounts, stress is actually beneficial. It motivates us to accomplish tasks and challenge ourselves. For kids, teenagers, and young adults, a main source of stress is school. Homework, tests, and navigating class schedules and friendships can be challenging. However, the pressure should not be overwhelming. If you find that your child is struggling with school-related stress, consider these tips.
Identify what’s making your child stressed –
Children can display symptoms of stress and anxiety in a variety of ways, depending on their age. Sometimes, they might tell you that they’re feeling stressed. If they don’t vocalize how they’re feeling, you may be able to notice it in their behaviors. Children and teens who are stressed usually are more irritable, have trouble sleeping, have increased tantrums, or suffer from headaches and stomach aches. Talk to your child about exactly what is bothering him or her to pinpoint the cause of his or her anxiety. Maybe it’s a big test coming up, or it’s a particular class that he or she finds difficult, or it’s finding friends to talk to during lunch. Once you know what’s worrying your child, you can begin to address the issue.
Avoid taking on too much –
We sign our children up for many activities so they can discover what interests them. With sports, clubs, music and art lessons, advanced courses, among other activities, teens’ schedules can get booked quickly. Every extracurricular and every class is a commitment. Consider how many honors or AP courses your child is taking. Would it be helpful for your son or daughter to drop one class for a CP class, in order to focus on the subjects that interest him or her? Does your child really need to practice two sports, or would he or she prefer to dedicate more time to one that he or she really loves? Prioritize activities and decide which make sense to pursue. It’s important that your child has some down time too.
Focus on your child’s well-being –
With so much going on, it’s possible to forget about your child’s health and well-being. Does your teenager stay up late in order to finish tomorrow’s homework, or forget to pack lunch in the morning because he or she is in such a rush? Remember, health comes first. Make sure that your teen gets about eight hours of sleep each night, so that he or she is well rested for the day ahead (this amount can vary slightly from one person to the next). It’s also helpful to have a consistent bedtime and wake up time. The routine keeps your child on track, so that he or she is following a basic schedule. In addition, encourage your child to eat healthy, balanced meals and snacks. Every meal is important; they give teens the energy needed to power through the day.
Make time for family, friends, and fun –
School is very important, but it shouldn’t get in the way of your child having time to relax and be a kid. Leave room in your son or daughter’s schedule for fun things to do. You could all have dinner as a family; it’s a great opportunity for everyone to share how their day went and anything that’s bothering them. Even hanging out with friends after school or on the weekend can give your child a break from studying. Also consider activities that get your child to let out frustrations or express himself or herself. Maybe your teen enjoys playing catch in the backyard or doodling in a sketchbook. There should always be some time to take a break and relax.
School is a major part of any child or teenager’s life. It involves stress, but that anxiety should not take over your child’s life. In order to make sure that it is manageable, follow the tips above. Simple changes to your teen’s schedule or routine can make a big difference!