Stress is a subject typically thought about for adults, but children can get stressed out about the important things in their lives too! Find out how to help them cope.
According to a KidsHealth® KidsPoll, 36 percent of children listed grades, school and homework as the lead causes of stress in their lives. Without coping strategies to manage stress and anxiety in a healthy way, children can easily become overwhelmed.
As families start thinking about the new school year, children often experience the added pressure of wanting to begin the year on a positive note. Although stress itself is unavoidable, there are many ways to help your children manage and reduce the stressors in their lives and build skills to manage and reduce stress that will last for a lifetime.
Here are 6 stress-busting tips for your kids:
1. Use problem-solving skills to handle stressful situations. A child's stress over classroom assignments can lead to a loss of confidence and focus on the entire lesson. You can help your child manage stress over difficult assignments by teaching problem-solving skills. If your child is spending a long time on a particular homework assignment, encourage him or her to be patient.. If the child is in a supplemental education program, work with the instructor to develop a plan of action before frustration damages your child's self-confidence.
2. Train your children to calm their minds and find solutions on their own. If your child tends to get stressed at test time, teach him/her how to achieve a quiet mind and work through difficult questions. Advise your child to stop, take a deep breath and refocus. This moment of reflection will help him/her calm down, clear his/her mind and regain focus. After the child has taken a few deep breaths, advise moving on to another question and coming back to the difficult question later.
3. Praise improvement and growth, not just good grades. Praising your child’s hard work on the way to achieving academic success is an important stress reliever. A child needs to focus on the task at hand to make every step along the way valued and important. Constantly reaching for the end result can lead to frustration, rushed work and an overwhelming sense of urgency when the child does not understand the material. Celebrating small victories along the way will provide an incentive for your child to continue.
4. Be a good listener for your child. Everyone needs to vent sometimes, and your child—no matter what age—is no exception. When your child comes to you and wants to talk, listen. Reserve your criticism, and simply let him or her speak. Ask open-ended questions to probe for the root cause of concern. Oftentimes your child will uncover the solution to the issue if you simply guide him/her to it.
5. Set up a routine and stick to it. Routines teach children how to be organized, which helps to reduce stress levels. You can start by designating a study hour in your home, which should occur at the same time every day. Make sure all family members are aware of study hour so they can help minimize distractions, such as a loud television show or ball game. Provide an area that is well-lighted and quiet to help your child concentrate and study more efficiently.
6. Seek outside help if needed. If your child is feeling stressed about school, seek outside help. Supplemental education programs can help children fill the gaps in their learning to make classwork less stressful.
Stress has a negative impact on everyone despite their age. As your children approach this new school year, utilize these tips to help them manage the pressure and develop healthy habits.
Get more back-to-school tips:
10 things teachers wants parents to know
Make a smooth transition to middle school
Bullyproof your child for life
Published on July 14, 2010