Helping Our Kids Cope with Stress at School

Stress is not exactly all that harmful. It teaches us emotional resilience in the face of challenges that may seem difficult at face value, but are actually just obstacles that need all our skills to solve. However, too much of stress will harm our health in ways that may be irreparable. 

So if that’s the case for adults, how much more if the kids are under excessive stress?

Stress at school is increasingly becoming unmanageable 

The pressures of performing well and being active in school activities can disrupt our children’s emotional and mental health. School is supposed to be where self-discovery and self-improvement are nurtured. While it is true that chronic stress is hardly the school’s fault, but rather the credentials society is requiring of our kids; it is important that both the teachers and parents work together to lessen child stress. 

Here are some of the signs of stress we should look out for. 

Severe mood swings 

Take note of the difference between a normal mood swing and a severe one. You can start by documenting how intense their mood swings are and how frequent during exam season. In this way, what you’ve learned will become a basis for the next time your child shows intense mood changes. 

Monitor them after every school day to see if they have reached their threshold. Once they do, ensure that they are able to study in comfortable manner. Help alleviate their mood by offering snacks they like or asking them if they want to do their homework while their favourite show is streaming.  

Emotional outbursts 

Sometimes, when the stress is too much to handle, you might not even have the chance to tame it down. They will act out to expel all their frustrations in one go. Remember that when this happens, it is important, as an adult, that you stay calm. Ride it out with them by being the anchor; this is the best time to decide not to go with their anger flow. 

Allow them to express all of what their feeling first. Then afterwards, help them come down from it by offering water and other emotional assurance tools like hugs.  

Recurring pains 

If your child has been moaning about the same headache and tummy ache, take this is a warning for chronic stress. You can take them to the doctor first to ensure that it isn’t something physical. Once you get the confirmation that nothing is really wrong with them physically, you can start offering to help them with school or to ensure that they’re comfortable while finishing projects and reports. 

You can even start serving stress fighting food like nuts and oats.

Trouble sleeping 

Because the kids are worrying excessively, they will find it hard to get to sleep at night. So they will experience changes in sleeping patterns and may even get frequent nightmares. To help them relax before going to sleep, you can both learn how to meditate. Doing this before bed will quiet down their minds and allow them a few hours of peace.  In his article “How to Beat Exam Stress: 25 Tips Backed by Research“, Daniel Wong explains how stress and sleep have a two-way relationship and so you should get into a routine (e.g. get up at the same time) and keep electronics out of your room.

The role of schools in alleviating child stress 

For some private schools in Singapore like the One World International School, the way to fight stress is through their values-based learning model and holistic education philosophy. Every learning milestone is assisted by educators and nurtured so that their natural love for learning continues as they grow older. 

The students are collaborative and the students are taught not to hesitate to tell their teachers if something is bothering them.  

This is the kind of learning environment, and indeed home environment, our kids should be in to avoid chronic stress altogether. In this way, they will associate studying to comfort and fun.

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