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
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.
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.
Some specific strategies which can help students to complete their homework with stress include:
Use a yearly planner to keep track of assignments and major tasks throughout the year. Crossing off tasks, once completed, is very satisfying.
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.
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.