…helping kids handle stress may be your biggest challenge this school year
A 2009 APA Stress in America survey showed nearly half of all students stress about doing well in school. And it’s only gotten worse.
In fact, we see mounting evidence that school-aged kids today are drowning under the stress of peer relationships…academic overload…and pressure to perform.
While it may be impossible to keep your kids worry-free, use the following proven tips to ease kids through the stress of another school year.
- Keep a consistent day-to-day routine—Routine helps kids feel safe and relaxed. Thus, they’ll be better equipped to focus on one task at a time…steer clear of overwhelm…and perform to expectations.
Researchers say kids eventually hard-wire this into their behavior. So it’s important parents start routines early, and keep kids consistent with them.
- Get plenty of sleep—Experts insist kids 5-12 years old should get up to 10 hours of restful sleep for proper physical and mental development. It also helps kids cope with the stresses of school, so they get better grades.
In fact, one recent study found that a consistent sleep schedule resulted in better performance in all subject areas.
Schools are under pressure to implement improved physical education programs. But parents shouldn’t wait for our schools to get it right. Experts say 60 minutes of accumulated physical exertion each day is all it takes for kids to benefit.
- Allow fun time—Remember, they’re still just kids. It’s important they not be focused on classes, homework, and chores 24/7. Making time for fun and laughter is welcome healing time.
As a bonus, parents can learn a lesson from it all…and join in the fun!
- Instill a good attitude—It’s important we help our kids understand that a certain amount of stress is normal. And, that it’s not so much what we face, but that we face it with resolve to get through it, and become better because of it.
Because stress triggers our natural “flight or fight” response, kids may choose to avoid it altogether. Especially in school, where it can be more difficult for parents to stay connected.
Constantly engage kids about their school day. Only then can you help your kids think positively about any situation they find themselves in…reduce the stress they feel from it…and even find benefit in it.
- Eat healthy—Nutrition plays a big role in our kids’ behavior and performance. In fact, symptoms of stress often mimic symptoms of poor nutrition.
Offer kids foods in their most natural state—like fresh organic raw fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid processed foods…they increase the risk of kids getting sick.
Additionally, Beyond Health recommends you politely bypass your government’s attempt at providing proper nutrition to kids in school and instead, send a healthy bagged lunch with them.
As always, it’s wise to supplement their diet with a good children’s multi-vitamin for optimal health and to prevent illness.
Not all stress is bad
A certain amount of stress drives healthy competition and promotes competency. It’s also promotes healthy brain function. Plus, as kids age, it’s increasingly beneficial they get “real life” practice handling the kinds of stress they’re almost certain to experience in adult life.
By following our tried-and-true tips above, parents can help reduce the negative impact stress will have on their child during the school year.