Helping Your Kids Cope With School Stress
Students of all ages can be struck with school stress: a child in second grade who feels pressure to keep up with their peers, a high schooler who needs straight As to get into university, or a university student overwhelmed with work for their senior thesis. We’ve also seen many employees take on stress at their jobs. Share these tips from Ottawa Counselling Services with your kids so they can better cope with school stress:
Watch for Signs
You aren’t at school with your children every day, and they may not communicate their feelings of school stress out loud. This is why you should be very observant and look for signs that could be symptoms of school stress. Symptoms vary from child to child, but look out for things like overeating, undereating, trouble sleeping, angry outbursts, or anxious behaviour.
Poor time management skills is the cause of many instances of school stress. Sit down with your child and come up with a time management plan so they don’t fall behind or feel overwhelmed. For a child in elementary school, this can be as simple as completing all homework before they’re allowed to watch TV or go on the computer. For teens, recommend time management strategies like “study for 20 minutes, relax for 10. Repeat.” University students should be encouraged to work on big semester-long projects a little bit every day, instead of cramming at the last minute.
Sleep, Exercise, Eating
School stress can affect many areas of your child’s life outside of school. When your child practices good sleep hygiene, stays active, and eats a healthy and balanced diet, there are many positive effects, like improved focus, concentration, and energy. Set a good example at home and encourage your child to get enough sleep, participate in physical activities, and eat well. Not only can these actions help reduce existing school stress, they can help improve school performance.
Many students regardless of age develop school stress because they feel pressure from their parents. If they don’t get the right grades or make the honour roll or get into the right university, they feel like they are letting their parents down. You may not even realize that you’re doing this. Relieve your children of this burden and never let your expectations harm your child in such a way. Let your children know that what matters to you is the beauty of learning and discovery, not grades.
Ottawa Counselling Services can help your child cope with school stress. You can schedule an individual appointment, so your child can have a one-on-one session to talk through what’s bothering them and come up with a stress management plan that is age-appropriate. You can also schedule a family therapy session so you can work to solve this as a team.
Don’t let school stress take over your child’s life. With these tips and the support of Ottawa Counselling Services, you can reduce school stress and once again make education fun and rewarding for your child.