Helping Your Child Handle School Stress

School-related stress is taking its toll on children more than ever before. While most children handle the demands of school fairly well, some experience more stress than others. You can determine if your child is suffering school-related stress by watching for the following signs:

  • decreased pleasure in everyday activities
  • grouchiness
  • fatigue and
  • acute sensitivity to criticism and adversity.

When stress develops, it is usually the result of the interaction of three factors: the demands of a situation, the abilities and resources that the child brings to the experience, and the support available to the child. Taken together, these three factors help explain why a child may feel stressed, and how much. The child who faces reasonable demands, who is confident and flexible and who has relaxed and supportive parents will have a better learning experience.

Here are some ways you can help your child:

  • Listen to your child's concerns.
  • Help your child master school tasks.
  • Encourage your child to welcome change, not fear it.
  • Stand back as your child tries to resolve problems - even if you think of a better solution.
  • Make sure your child has enough free time. This is essential for emotional growth and good mental health.Podcast: When a Student Struggles
  • Applaud success in all areas - not just in one particular subject or in sports. Praise the ability to make friends, express feelings, do chores, etc.
  • Set goals within a child's reach. This will help the child develop a feeling of competence. A child is not a miniature adult; don't demand perfection or compare one child to another.
  • Love your child unconditionally.

Inform your child's teacher if he or she is showing signs of stress. Then, you can work together to support your child. This may not resolve all the stress your child feels, but it is a good beginning.