Every student gets stressed out at some point in their academic career. Whether it be test anxiety, frustration with homework or lack of understanding from teachers, kids don't always know how to handle that stress. They may act out or shut down, either way the parent tends to be left wondering what's going on with their child. Here are some ways to help your student manage their stress.
1. Help Them Understand: kids don't know what they don't know. Emotions are a crazy maze that people in general have to nevigate on a daily basis, but when you're a child, you don't know how to identiy your emotions or the reasoning behind them. Open a line of communication with your child. Give them prompts to help them break down what they're feeling and try to explain to you (and themselves) what's going on.
2. Growth Mindset: Most schools have adopted this policy from administration down to the classrooms. "Growth Mindset" simply means, you don't know *insert topic here*...YET. That "yet" allows students to feel what they need to, but also helps them realize that they will eventually gain the knowledge needed to understand. It's a willingness to address the challenges and know that failure is only an opportunity to learn and get better at whatever it is you're doing.
3. Encourage Sleep and Exercise: Staring at a computer, tablet, phone or TV for excessive amounts of time is not healthy for anyone, but especially kids. It can take away creativity and imagination, replacing it with an entitlement and expectation that all answers will be handed to you. Encouraging your student to go outside, play, exercise and get away from the screens in addition to getting enough sleep will not only help with stress and anxiety, but also with energy and focus throughout the day.
4. Smart Social Media: Social media is a key factor in stress. Students have enough on their plates without having to feel the pressure of keeping up with their friends and every other percieved "they have it better than me" account. Be involved in what your kids are viewing on social media. Talk to them about being safe and understanding that people put their best foot forward on social media, that it's not always what it's made out to be.
5. Just Be There: Be a listening ear and a sounding board for your child. They have enough going on in their lives, they don't need to feel like they can't go to their parents either. Let them talk to you and be sure to listen for understanding, not just to respond and tell them they're wrong or that they "will be fine." Kids want to know that you're truly going to listen to them and they don't want to feel judged. So sit, listen, love on your kids and just be there.