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Stress destroys the study. Stu­dents who suf­fer from stress are less like­ly to ful­fil their aca­d­e­m­ic poten­tial and less like­ly to be content. As a par­ent, you can help chil­dren avoid or remove the build-up of stress by teach­ing them time man­age­ment, mon­i­tor­ing their diet, sleep, and exer­cise by keep­ing an eye on their week­ly sched­ule and pro­vid­ing sup­port and encouragement. Aca­d­e­m­ic and soci­o­log­i­cal stud­ies have revealed that school stress is a real and seri­ous prob­lem for many stu­dents from pri­ma­ry school to high school. At School, unre­al­is­tic expec­ta­tions, per­fec­tion­ism among stu­dents and par­ents, too much work and not enough play can result in stress, anx­i­ety, and depression. Reports sug­gest that stan­dard­ized tests, which are becom­ing increas­ing­ly com­mon, are plac­ing undue stress on children. Experts have expressed con­cern that in the increas­ing­ly com­pet­i­tive and glob­al­ized world, stu­dents from vir­tu­al­ly any coun­try can com­pete for the same ter­tiary cours­es and the same jobs, stu­dents are under more pres­sure to excel. Of course, stu­dent stress can also result from the age-old prob­lems of a high work­load, peer pres­sure, and child­hood and ado­les­cence challenges. List­ed below are some prac­ti­cal strate­gies that any adult can use to help a child expe­ri­enc­ing school stress.

1- Be Aware

Look for indi­ca­tors such as self-harm, expres­sions of despair or hope­less­ness and even casu­al, off-hand remarks that may seem inno­cent but could be a sign of a deep­er problem.

2- Time Management

student stress l how to help stressed-out students l stress management in school l how to manage student stress l stress in students One of the most valu­able skills any stu­dent can learn is time man­age­ment. It will serve them well dur­ing their school years and lat­er in life. Have the stu­dent write down on paper, or elec­tron­i­cal­ly, a week­ly and dai­ly schedule. The sched­ule should include time peri­ods in which they will do home­work, pri­vate study, revi­sion and exam prepa­ra­tion, and include the time they will spend play­ing a sport and doing extra-cur­ric­u­lar activ­i­ties such as Music, Dra­ma, Sci­ence Club Debating. The sched­ule will help them do the right activ­i­ty at the right time, avoid spend­ing too long on a par­tic­u­lar activ­i­ty, and decide if they can fit all of their activ­i­ties into a week. Impor­tant­ly, the week­ly sched­ule must include time peri­ods for the child to relax, hang out with friends and be a child. A dai­ly sched­ule can com­ple­ment the week­ly sched­ule. This shows the child how to fit dai­ly activ­i­ties into the day and avoid becom­ing over­whelmed or swamped with tasks. Sched­ules also help chil­dren to avoid doing some­thing they are very, very good at – Pro­cras­ti­nat­ing. The boy who spent three weeks in his room pre­tend­ing to study for his final high school exams, and emerged boast­ing that he had learned how to jug­gle – was prob­a­bly in need of a schedule.

3- Timing

Teach chil­dren to time their home­work. Teach them to assess how much time they should spend on a par­tic­u­lar task or sub­ject and stick to that time frame. Con­verse­ly, have the time for how long var­i­ous tasks take and iden­ti­fy which sub­jects might take longer. Dif­fer­ent stu­dents have dif­fer­ent strengths and weak­ness­es, so they may need to devote more time to a cer­tain subject. Final­ly, time man­age­ment skills can pre­vent one of the great­est caus­es of school stress – Cram­ming.

4- Homework

Some spe­cif­ic strate­gies which can help stu­dents to com­plete their home­work with stress include:

A- Planner

Use a year­ly plan­ner to keep track of assign­ments and major tasks through­out the year. Cross­ing off tasks, once com­plet­ed, is very satisfying.

B- Monitor

Do your child’s school post home­work tasks and assign­ments online? Can you access this infor­ma­tion? In most cas­es, yes. Your child won’t like being nagged, but, hey, that’s your job. Teach­ers also appre­ci­ate par­ents who sup­port their efforts to keep stu­dents on task.

C- Space

Cre­ate a con­ducive space to study—quiet, com­fort­able, free of dis­trac­tions such as TV and video games – and their phone.

D- Earlier the Better

Young peo­ple are more atten­tive in the morn­ing. By the after­noon and evening, they’re…well, you know. Please encour­age them to study in the morn­ing when their mind is fresh.

E- Check-in

Find out if your child is strug­gling aca­d­e­m­i­cal­ly, and try to act before it is too late. Aca­d­e­m­ic dif­fi­cul­ties are major sources of stress but can be solved with extra tutor­ing, home­work clubs, online resources or counselling.

How much is Too Much?

student stress l how to help stressed-out students l stress management in school l how to manage student stress l stress in students Is your child over­sched­uled? Are they doing too much? With so many activ­i­ties offered to chil­dren these days, it’s easy to enrol them in too many. Stu­dents face a sub­stan­tial work­load at school. Some stu­dents are then placed in exten­sion or advanced place­ment cours­es to increase their chances of enter­ing a selec­tive high school or a top ter­tiary institution. Many young peo­ple are also par­tic­i­pat­ing in extra-cur­ric­u­lar activ­i­ties. If a child appears stressed, look at their reg­u­lar activ­i­ties and con­sid­er whether they are doing too much. Over­achiev­ing and gift­ed chil­dren need to be chal­lenged. Ask your­self, how­ev­er, is my child being chal­lenged, or just kept busy?

5- Sleep

Experts state that most chil­dren need 9 – 9.5 hours of sleep per night. Please do what you can to ensure chil­dren get enough sleep, such as keep­ing them away from elec­tron­ic devices and check­ing their room to make sure they are sleeping.

6- Exercise

student stress l how to help stressed-out students l stress management in school l how to manage student stress l stress in students Reg­u­lar exer­cise reduces stress. It works for adults, and it works for chil­dren. Chil­dren are grow­ing and need more exer­cise per day than the aver­age adult. Find ways to make sure your child is doing some exer­cise every day and ensure that at least some of this exer­cise is high inten­si­ty or exer­cise, rais­ing their heart­beat and get­ting their blood pumping. Enroll your child in a local sports team, which is a good social out­let as well. Take them for a hike or bike ride. If you live near the beach or a lake, take them for a swim – nev­er under­es­ti­mate the trans­for­ma­tive pow­er of saltwater. Phys­i­cal activ­i­ty is a great form of stress relief, and with­out it, much of that stress will build up and build up with­in the child – and often be released in neg­a­tive ways.

7- Family Time

Com­mu­ni­cat­ing with your chil­dren can some­times be a chal­lenge. Often the last thing a teenag­er wants to do is com­mu­ni­cate with their par­ents or sib­lings. How­ev­er, if fam­i­ly time is made into a reg­u­lar habit in your house­hold, talk­ing to your chil­dren can become easier. Many experts sug­gest spend­ing at least 20 min­utes togeth­er, 4 – 5 times a week, to keep open the lines of com­mu­ni­ca­tion and check in on your chil­dren’s state of mind. If they are feel­ing stressed, you are more like­ly to spot the signs and to be able to do some­thing about the sit­u­a­tion if you spend time togeth­er as a fam­i­ly regularly. One of the best times to do this is at meal­times.

Are You the Cause?

Are you the cause of the child’s stress? Are you plac­ing too much pres­sure on your child or cre­at­ing unre­al­is­tic expectations? As a par­ent, it’s dif­fi­cult to ask your­self this ques­tion, and more dif­fi­cult to acknowl­edge, even if it is true. Take a step back and think about what you expect from your child, how you com­mu­ni­cate these expec­ta­tions to your child, and whether the stan­dards or the expec­ta­tions are real­is­tic or are in line with what the child wants.

How Do you Talk to Children about School?

Do you focus entire­ly on aca­d­e­m­ic grades or rank­ings? When you start a con­ver­sa­tion with your child about school, the first state­ment you make or the ques­tion you ask can have a major impact on the way they think about school. If chil­dren are con­stant­ly remind­ed about aca­d­e­m­ic per­for­mance in tests or their rank­ing, they may believe that aca­d­e­m­ic excel­lence is the only accept­able out­come and start to feel more stress. This may be the hard­est thing to do. You want the best for your child, and at some point, you will have to push your child to suc­ceed at school and in life – but please mon­i­tor how you do this!

8- Fun, fun, fun…

Chil­dren need to play. It’s in their nature, and it helps them to avoid and release stress. It is one thing that is miss­ing for over­sched­uled chil­dren. Chil­dren need time to play and for­get about oth­er pres­sures like school. The type of play can have an impact as well. Elec­tron­ic games are fun for many chil­dren, but they lead to more screen time, so they must be lim­it­ed. Unstruc­tured play out­side, in the fresh air with some form of phys­i­cal activ­i­ty, is ide­al, as plays stim­u­late their imag­i­na­tion and let them laugh.

student stress l how to help stressed-out students l stress management in school l how to manage student stress l stress in students

Last but not least

You can help your child to avoid or over­come school stress. Mon­i­tor their sleep, exer­cise and diet, teach them time man­age­ment skills and sched­ul­ing, and lim­it their screen time. Con­sid­er the way you com­mu­ni­cate with them about school and your own expec­ta­tions of their achieve­ment. Spend time togeth­er as a fam­i­ly and remem­ber that hap­py, suc­cess­ful and well-bal­anced chil­dren need time to have fun.  

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