With the school year in full swing, various pressures could be mounting into stressors in the lives of students. They might be having difficulty managing their homework load, or could be struggling with certain social activities or interactions, or maybe they’re having trouble with a certain teacher or subject. The possibilities are many and might vary, but the good news is that parents can help reduce this stress by taking some concrete steps at home.
We asked our staff clinicians for ways parents could do just that, and below reflects what they suggest. Even if your child isn’t showing obvious signs of stress, these steps can help prevent it from coming on or might help address issues they're not even processing or communicating quite yet.
1) Open Communication - Ask questions about your child’s day, schoolwork, friends, teachers, etc. Be sure that they’re open-ended questions instead of simple yes or no. This helps create a positive dialogue with your child about school, which, in turn, helps build trust and an open channel for your child to discuss their worries and concerns with you. Perhaps discuss school issues and concerns over hot chocolate or any other comforting food or drink that will help your child relax and feel more open to talking.
2) Get Involved with school activities, which helps you get to know their teachers so that you can advocate for your child when necessary. Build good relationships with school staff and parents. Create an open line of communication with them that sets the tone that parent, children, and teachers are all part of the same team.
3) Create a Routine – Reduce stress related to homework, tests, and projects by creating a routine at home during which you set a time and space aside (as often as necessary) to help them get their work done in a relaxing way.
4) Time Management – As you work with your child to create a routine that works for everyone, help them break down their school work in chunks and tasks to be completed. Use calendars and planners to think ahead and keep track of due dates. Don’t put emphasis on how big or small the assignments are, just focus on getting them done, one at a time.
5) Back to Basics: Nutrition – A balanced meal goes a long way in helping your child keep their focus on school tasks. Make sure that your child is getting enough sleep time by limiting usage of phones, laptops, tablets, and TV. A good sleeping schedule and nutritious meals can help reduce stress while at school and increase focus.
For more on our staff clinicians, visit our team page.