Students of all ages experience stress related to school. Some coping strategies like taking breaks from technology, sleeping, practicing deep breathing and stretching may help young students.
Students of all ages experience stress related to school. Learn how to cope with school stress at any age.
Reasons for school-related stress
There are many reasons for school stress, including:
- Demands of schoolwork and homework
- The frustration of not understanding concepts
- Negative personal feelings
- Body changes
- Disagreements with friends or other students
- Home life concerns like divorce or illness
- Losing a loved one
- Beginning a new school
- Too many outside activities
- Financial strain at home
How to cope with school stress
Young students may experience stress differently than older students. You can’t eliminate stress completely, but you can find ways to manage your stress and feel better. There are coping strategies that can help students of all ages, like:
- Taking breaks from technology so your eyes and mind can rest
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Getting lots of exercise and time outside
- Sleeping enough so your body can rest
- Practicing deep breathing and stretching
- Avoiding alcohol, smoking, and drugs
- Having a good daily routine
- Spending time doing something you love
- Talking to friends and loved ones about your stress
- Getting involved with your church or another community organization
- Asking for help when you need it
Managing stress in kindergarten through eighth grade
Younger students may not identify or understand their stress yet. They need help from parents and caregivers to develop coping strategies. You can help young students stay ahead of stress and manage their big feelings.
Getting organized. Buy your younger student a planner that helps them stay organized. Help your students practice writing down when assignments are due and tests are scheduled. Use dividers to organize schoolwork by subject. When your student can see deadlines in advance, they may feel less overwhelmed about their school load.
Tutoring. If your young student is struggling with a particular subject, get help early. It’s easy to get behind on a subject when they don’t understand what they’re doing. Spending a little extra time studying can make a difference. When your student feels confident about their work, they may be less stressed.
Staying active. Younger children need physical activity to clear their minds. When they have higher levels of endorphins, their mood improves. They can play outside with friends, go for a walk, or play with a pet in the backyard.
Venting. Give your child a chance to talk about what’s bothering them. When you understand their needs, you can better help them. They may face bullying or feel like they don’t get along with teachers. Talk to your student about problem-solving and how they can overcome issues. You may be tempted to take care of things on your own, but give your student a chance to learn and grow.
Panic attacks are repeated attacks of fear that can last for several minutes.
Helping high schoolers manage stress
Many teenagers are juggling work and school. They are worried about college and thinking about what they want to do after high school. Some children even feel like they have to provide income to support their families.
Here are some ways that older teens can manage stress of school and school-related stressors.
Meditation. Self-awareness is very important as your teens get older. If they can identify their stressors, they can problem solve and learn how to cope. Practice breathing by taking slow, deep breaths. Focus on each breath and try to clear your mind. Practice body scan by focusing on a single body part at a time. Release tension, and relax one muscle at a time.
Exercise. Just like younger students, high schoolers need physical activity to release stress. Having a regular workout routine is helpful. Students can walk, jog, play on a sports team, or go to the gym.
Study groups. Students can help one another by studying difficult subjects together. Encourage your teen to study for tests with friends and peers. They may learn something they didn’t know or understand a subject they struggle in.
Scheduling. Teens are often overwhelmed by demands in and out of school. Talk to your teen about their schedule, and help them create a routine. If needed, invest in a planner or download a phone app for organization. Having a calendar may help them feel more in control of their lives.
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How college students can manage stress
College is very different from high school and requires more self-discipline. In addition to the above suggestions for other age groups, counseling is very important at this stage of life. Many college students find themselves living and working independently for the first time. Counseling services offer an outlet for them to share their feelings and address mental health concerns.