By Nicola Smith, October 26, 2017
Now that the rush of back to school season has passed, your kids may be having trouble with the stresses of classes, assignments, homework, sports teams, friends, and routines. Here are 6 ways for you and your child or teen to cope with school stress.
1: Know the signs
Teens can be very good at hiding their stress, but there are specific signs that your child may be suffering from school stress. Symptoms such as difficulty sleeping, headaches, stomach aches, and rapid changes in behavior can indicate that your child may be stressed.
2: Establish open communication
Assure your child that they can talk to you about anything. Be patient when your child is trying to explain their problems or worries. If your child has trouble expressing themselves, suggest a journal or another creative outlet to ensure they don’t internalize everything.
3: Listen carefully
If your child is constantly trying to get out of attending school or having difficulty with school work, focus on figuring out the cause of the problem. Are they having problems with a teacher? Could they be having trouble with peers? Is their schedule too busy? Understanding the root cause of your child’s school stress will help you work with your child and appropriate school administrators to make sure your child has a productive school year.
4: Make sure your child is getting enough sleep
If your child is staying up late or experiencing poor sleep due to school stress, make sure you’re monitoring your child’s bedtime and morning wake-up time routine. Children up to 9 years of age require up to 12 hours of sleep per night, while teenagers still need 8 to 10 hours. Address anything that may be causing your child to have poor sleep, such as an over-packed schedule, anxiety, or late-night technology use.
5: Make a weekly plan
Make sure everyone in the family is on the same page about the school routine including pick up and drop off, extracurricular activities, and time for rest. Keeping your children part of the conversation will help you address issues in the moment, instead of it developing into a larger issue in the future.
6: Give your child time to rest
Just like you probably need time each week to regenerate, create space for your child to rest and relax so they have time to forget about their commitments and enjoy something like their favorite hobby, a movie, or family time. Ideally, make this technology-free time to give your family a chance to connect without being plugged in.
As the school year progresses, there is more potential for challenging and stressful times. Use the steps above to create a safe environment for you and your children to overcome the stress of school. Remember to be patient with yourself and your children, and keep communication open to minimize the risk of larger issues occurring.
- Having trouble managing your own stress? Register and learn how to practice mindfulness in our Coping with Stress and Depression webinar.
- What happens when symptoms become more than stress? Watch our Teen Depression Webinar to understand the difference between normal teen behavior and depression.
- Do you live in Massachusetts? Learn about our onsite Teen Depression Program to help your community address teen mental health.
With a keen interest in holistic health and wellness, Nicola Smith works with heart-centered female entrepreneurs in the health and wellness industry, providing copy that engages to help grow their businesses.