Stress happens to all of us. Stress can occur at various times of the day and even for different events. There are some potential school stressors that should be made aware to your children. I think one of the top words we are looking at here is “overwhelming” or feeling “overwhelmed”. Stress is not always necessarily a negative thing. Stress can challenge us by making us learn new things to keep our brains functioning. However, when stress interferes too much, children may become overwhelmed.
Some school stressors for children include worrying about schoolwork or grades, juggling responsibilities, problems with friends or peers, household problems, or negative thoughts about the self. As you are reading this, these may not sound so bad. However, stress can begin to impact our health negatively when it affects us physically, emotionally, or behaviorally. Therefore, we need to be aware of children and what could potentially lead them to feel overwhelmed.
Increasing positive communication
One way we can help children with school stressors is first to identify the current stressors. Another effective way to reduce stress is to increase positive communication at school and home. How can we do this? First, it’s essential to teach children positive communication skills. We can do this by talking with children regularly, having children describe their day, listening and reflecting on what children say. In addition, we can also practice conversations, being aware of body language, having fun conversations with children, asking children’s opinions, and overall spending time with children. Furthermore, to improve communication in a school setting, we should create a safe environment, encourage teamwork, provide active listening exercises, and give positive feedback. While we encourage and teach positive communication at school, it is also vital that children feel safe, comfortable, and aware of their resources at school.
Ways to ask for help
Not every student or child will feel comfortable talking, contributing, and even asking for help in some cases. Keeping that in mind, we also must practice encouraging children to ask for help when needed. How can we do this? First, parents can discuss with their children what asking for help looks like in different settings. Children must have the right resources at school and be aware those resources exist. An article titled “Teaching your child how to ask for help” goes over the importance of help-seeking and questions for parents and teachers to assist children in navigating how to ask for help appropriately. In summarization, we can discuss and practice with children to identify potential helpers, model help-seeking skills, and encourage empathy.
Identifying academic problems
Previously, we have talked about school stressors, positive communication, and ways to ask for help. However, it is also essential to identify academic problems that may arise. As parents, keeping in touch with your child’s teacher is one way to stay in tune if there are academic problems or other issues. However, other signs your child may be struggling with academics may include limited discussions about school, feeling less challenged, distraction, disorganization. Your child might also be struggling with poor grades despite studying, too much time spent on homework. You might also see changes in activities or friends, problems with sleeping or eating, and in behaviors and attitudes.
Once we become aware of school stressors, how to increase positive communication, and ways to ask for help, this is the start to alleviate stress for children in school. However, more help, assistance, and guidance are all out there for you, your children, and your family.