By: Andrew of the Kumon Math & Reading Center of Lacey
Stress is a subject typically thought of for adults; however, children too can become stressed about the important things in their lives. According to a KidsHealth® KidsPoll, 36 percent of children listed grades, school and homework as the lead causes of stress in their lives. Without coping strategies to healthily manage stress and anxiety, children can easily become overwhelmed.
As the typical school year draws to an end, children often experience the added pressure of ending the year on a positive note. Although stress itself is unavoidable, there are many ways to help your children manage and reduce the stressors in their lives and build skills to manage and reduce stress that will last for a lifetime.
• Use problem-solving skills to handle stressful situations
A child’s stress over classroom assignments can lead to a loss of confidence and focus on the entire lesson. You can help your child manage stress over difficult assignments by teaching problem-solving skills. If your child finds that he/she is spending a long time on a particular homework assignment, continue to encourage them to be patient with themself. If the child is in Kumon, work with the Instructor to develop a plan of action before frustration damages his/her self-confidence.
• Train your children to calm their minds and find solutions on their own
If your child tends to get stressed at test time, teach him/her how to quiet their mind and work through difficult questions. Advise your child to stop, take a deep breath and refocus. This moment of reflection will help him/ her calm down, clear their mind and regain focus. After the child has taken a few deep breaths, advise that they move on to another question and come back to the difficult question later.
• Praise improvement and growth, not just good grades
Praising your child’s hard work on the way to achieving academic success is an important stress reliever. A child needs to focus on the task at hand to make every step along the way valued and important. Constantly reaching for the end result can lead to frustration, rushed work and an overwhelming sense of urgency when the child does not understand the material. Celebrating small victories along the way will provide an incentive for the child to continue.
• Be a good listener for your child
Everyone needs to vent sometimes, and your child – no matter what age – is no exception. When your child comes to you and wants to talk, listen. Reserve your criticism, and simply let your child speak. Ask the child open-ended questions to probe for the root cause of concern. Oftentimes, the child will uncover the solution to the issue if you simply guide him/her to it.
• Set up a routine and stick to it
Routines teach children how to be organized, which helps to reduce stress levels. You can start by designating a study hour in your home which should occur at the same time every day. Make sure that all family members are aware of study hour so that they can help minimize distractions such as a loud television or ball game. Provide an area that is well-lit and quiet to help your child concentrate so that he/she can study more efficiently.
• Seek outside help if needed
If your child is feeling stressed about school, seek outside help. Supplemental education programs such as Kumon Math & Reading Centers can help children fill the gaps in their learning to make class work less stressful. Visit Kumon.com to find a Center near you.
Stress has a negative impact on everyone despite their age. As your children wind down this school year, utilize these tips to help them manage the pressure and develop healthy habits.