As we approach Fall break, it is a good time to reflect on how our kids are doing at school. Stress and anxiety are inevitable when kids are at school. Often, this stress increases as a child gets older along with the pressure to do well and perform.
Here are a few ways you can help your child better manage stress:
Chaotic days can set the tone for the week and can leave everyone feeling stressed out and overstimulated, which in turn can cause trouble with sleeping and attention problems in the classroom. A child’s state of mind and schedule are inextricably linked to their parents’. When we as parents are really busy and rushed, we are not calm. As hard as it might seem, as parents, we need to be ducks on a pond…calm and gliding above water but paddling furiously underneath just to stay afloat.
Focus on sleep and bedtime routine:
Sleep is good for everybody not just our kids. Kids who get enough sleep are less likely to be irritable and angry and are more likely to appropriately manage stress and anxiety at school.
Too many afterschool activities means less time for homework, so streamline the essentials and/ or favorite activities. Also, this will help make room for some family time in the evening. By establishing healthy routines, you can plan things such as family dinners every night.
Model coping techniques:
Teaching kids how to handle stress is important. Kids learn a lot from their parents and observe how parents manage their lives. Setting a good example and displaying positive coping skills are good ways to help kids learn best practices for dealing with stressful situations at school. If your child is struggling with anxiety, the focus should be on helping your child tolerate their anxiety better rather than trying to eliminate it. If they learn to cope with their anxiety well, eventually it will decrease or drop off over time.
Limit screen time:
Nowadays, children commonly spend several hours a day on their laptops or phones which can also lead to increased stress. Spending more time with family will be a positive change and can help reduce anxiety and stress.
School is a common source of stress for children and especially for children who may learn differently. As parents, it is important to remember this and do all you can to set them up for success in the school system. Teaching kids independence, self-sufficiency, positive coping skills and healthy routines are key ingredients to developing successful futures for them.