School stress is a serious issue that kids, teens, college students and their families have to deal with. According to the report of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), we have generations of college students nowadays that strive to perfectionism, showing increased signs of anxiety, depression, and stress.
We know that stress is not exclusive to adults only. And it appears that school is one of the major stress factors for youngsters. A large amount of pressure stems from school-related challenges – almost every student will feel school-related jitters at some point in their schooling. Different children handle stress differently. However, when long-lasting or too intense, stress can seriously damage a child’s health.
How to Tackle School Stress and Build Resilience?
While a great deal of stress for college students comes from college admissions race and tight deadlines, younger kids mostly feel pressured by fear of failing the standardized tests and not accomplishing homework.
Also, with the “No Child Left Behind” Act, which emphasizes the testing scores of school children, nearly 40 percent of school districts in the United States have reduced school recess. However, recent studies show that recess is vital for a child’s development and well-being. Moreover, research suggests that recess helps students perform better – kids can learn more in considerably less time when allowed properly allotted breaks.
For many students, busy school schedules don’t allow for much downtime and relaxation, so kids without good time management skills usually experience a lot of stress. Furthermore, changes to routine, classes that are too hard, school transitions and a lack of support from parents and teachers make school a huge source of stress for many young people.
Here are some tips to help kids manage school stress and ease school anxiety.
1. Recognize the symptoms of school-related stress.
Sudden stressful event will first of all manifest in physical symptoms. Watch for signs such as:
· Headaches and other aches and pains
· Chest pain
· Dry mouth with difficulty swallowing
· Rapid heartbeat
· Tense muscles
· Nervousness and shaking
· Upset stomach, often with diarrhea, nausea, and constipation
Furthermore, some emotional signs of stress may cause a child and/or teenager to:
· Become moody and easily agitated
· Feel bad about themselves
· Have difficulty concentrating or relaxing
· Feel easily overwhelmed
· Start avoiding other people including his/her peers
2. Teach Kids Good Time-Management Skills
Teach students to keep a time-management log and track their time when doing homework and assignments. This will, for example, help them identify the activities they are spending too long on. It will also help them set priorities and figure out activities that require their immediate attention.
Provide a child a quiet place to study, free of distractions and help them identify the time of the day when they are most productive. For many kids, attention span is longer in the morning, so those children should be encouraged to study earlier rather than later in the day.
3. Teach Them Mindfulness
Studies show that mindfulness exercise reduces the activity of the amygdala that is responsible for triggering a stress response. In other words, regular mindfulness practice can make kids more resilient to stress. Besides, mindfulness can improve a child’s memory and concentration, and boost their mood and optimism.
If you suspect that your child is experiencing school-related stress, talk with your GP and provide lots of love and support.