The Advantage Blog

When Your Kids Stress Out Over School

Now that all our children are back in school we collectively take a deep breath and think that all is well.  But this may not be the case with every student.  Some children become anxious over their new environment, their friends, grades, and other school related activities.

Identify the Signs your Child is Stressed
Stress can be hard to identify in kids.  Look for red flags and common warning signals, such as difficulty sleeping, headaches, stomach aches, and changes in behavior (irritability and temper tantrums).  Try to get your child to express their worries either by talking to you or writing them down.

The Goal Isn’t to Eliminate Stress/Anxiety
The goal isn’t to remove the stressors that trigger their unhappiness, but to help them learn to tolerate their anxiety and function as well as they can, even when they’re anxious.

Listen Carefully to your Child
Listen carefully to learn what your child’s specific grievances are and figure out the root cause. Is it a teacher issue? A bully? Are they over-scheduled? Maybe your child feels they’re unable to meet their own expectations. In most cases parents can address these problems either at home or by contacting school administrators.

Make Sure Your Child is Getting Enough Sleep
Kids in kindergarten up to third grade may require up to 12 hours per night, even high schoolers still need a solid eight to 10 hours, according to the National Sleep Foundation.  Manage those items that can lead to sleep loss like demanding schedules and using technology or social media late at night.

Talk About Potential Situations
Sometimes it helps to talk about the child’s fear and how to handle it?

A child who’s anxious about separating from her parents might worry about what would happen if the parents were late in picking her up. So talk about that. If your mom doesn’t come at the end of soccer practice, what would you do? “Well I would tell the coach my mom’s not here.”  And what do you think the coach would do? “Well he would call my mom. Or he would wait with me.”

For some kids having a plan can reduce the uncertainty and concerns they may have.

Make time for Play, Downtime and Family
Kids need a healthy mixture of unstructured play, downtime and family time.  Getting away from situations that cause stress at school, as well as providing a physical outlet for their anxiety, can allow a child to unwind and be in an environment conducive to talking. Making time away from their busy schedules can allow them to reconnect with themselves, family and friends.

Model Healthy Ways of Handling Anxiety
Seeing how parents handle stressful situations will help their children learn to cope when they become anxious. Kids are perceptive, so let them hear and see you managing it calmly, tolerating it, and feeling good about getting through it.

Time to Review Your Insurance Coverage?
Mitchell Agency Advantage logoNow that the hectic summer is past us, we’d be happy to set up a time to meet and review your current insurance coverage.  Just give the Mitchell Agency a call at 765-742-1135, we’ll be happy to meet with you at your convenience.