As we near the end of November and the upcoming holiday season, many parents of school-aged children will begin to notice that their kids seem stressed, restless or unfocused when it comes to school. The time before winter break is an extremely challenging one for students, parents and teachers because students often start to feel burned out after months of hard work.
School can be extremely stressful for children, and today’s culture of keeping kids busy with homework and extracurricular activities can add to that. When feeling stressed or overwhelmed by school, your kid's attention span may start to wane, their grades may begin to decline, and their health might, too.
As parents, it’s important to keep a careful eye out for this kind of behavior and to assist the child in relieving stress in healthy ways. Just a small amount of dedicated de-stress time every day can help kids make it through the end of the semester more focused, energized, happy and healthy.
One of your top parenting priorities is keeping your child healthy. Physical health has a large impact on the body’s ability to manage and cope with stress.
These things are at the top of the list when it comes to managing stress through health.
- Healthy diet: Encouraging your child to eat well is one of the best ways to keep them healthy and help their body’s adapt to stressful situations. Your child’s growing body needs a lot of vitamins and minerals, so make sure they eat a balanced diet and avoid giving them sugary treats that can sour their mood and make focusing difficult.
- Lots of water: Dehydration can make your child feel sick and give them brain fog, making school much more stressful than it needs to be. Teach your child the importance of drinking water and get them a water bottle that makes it easy to track the amount of water they’ve had per day.
- Ample sleep: Kids can get very busy, and sleep generally suffers as a result. But children often need more sleep than adults do, and a lack of sleep can cause mood problems, increase stress and make focusing in school challenging. Make sure your child follows a consistent bedtime routine and gets at least eight to nine hours of sleep a night.
- Stress-relieving supplement: Sometimes, school stress stems directly from your child’s inability to focus. Providing them with a focus-enhancing, stress-reducing natural supplement can help them improve their focus and relieve their stress each day.
Apart from eating healthily, children should also have ample opportunities to take a break from schoolwork and do things they enjoy that simultaneously engage their growing brains. Creative activities are fun ways to relieve stress and disengage from school for a little while.
- Creative activities: Activities involving art, whether physical, musical or otherwise, are great for children to get into because they are both stimulating and fun. Encourage your child to color or paint a picture, learn a musical instrument or dance and sing.
- Exercise: Physical activity is a critical part of your child’s health. Most children should get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, whether that’s through organized sports or play time with friends outside. If your child is also involved in a sport through school, give them time to exercise outside of that commitment at home, too.
- Dedicated hobby time: Sometimes, kids just need time to do things they want to do. Allowing your child a set amount of time each day to partake in the hobby of their choice can help them unwind from things they see as requirements and that may be stressing them out.
When stressed, your child needs to know that they have a support system waiting to back them up and help them get through the tough times. Spending quality family time with your child is important for them, as strong social relationships are a critical part of relieving stress.
- Family meal time: Sitting down with your family every morning for breakfast or every night for dinner can make a huge impact on your child’s stress level. This intentional family time can give them the opportunity to discuss school, their interests, social interactions and more, and having you there to listen will ensure they feel supported.
- Joint meditation: Children should be taught ways to cope with stress at school or away from home. Deep breathing exercises or meditation can help your child relax in a stressful situation. Work with your child to practice meditation if they are old enough, or transform this into quality “quiet time” where you read a book or just relax.
Stress can be dangerous in children who aren’t able to cope with it appropriately, and school is one of the major sources of stress for adolescents. Thankfully, giving your child time to play and be creative, as well as giving them a support system and the tools they need to manage stress, can help them stay healthy and happy, in school and beyond.