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Health & Parenting

Coping with School Stress

These 5 tips can help kids cope with school stress and homework pressure -- and ease school anxiety for kids of all ages.
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Younger kids may have more subtle signs of school stress, like headaches, stomachaches or reluctance to go to school, she adds.

2. Teach kids time-management skills.

With today's heavy homework loads, time-management and organizationalskills are crucial weapons against stress, experts say.

Teach kids to budget their time wisely with homework. "Try to do something every night instead of cramming at the last moment," says Delores Curry, a California high school counselor and secondary level vice president of the American School Counselor Association.

Stress-Relieving Homework Tips

  • Teach your kids to use a planner to keep track of assignments, says middle-school counselor Bierma. When they finish each assignment, kids can check them off for a feeling of accomplishment.
  • If kids struggle with tracking their homework, help them by following along with homework if their school posts assignments online.
  • Give your child a quiet place to study, free of distractions, away from TV and video games.
  • If possible, have kids study earlier rather than later in the day. "The later it is for most students, the shorter their attention span," Bierma says.
  • Ask the school about resources if your child is struggling academically, Bierma says. Many schools now have homework clubs, math clubs, and tutoring programs after school.

 

3. Consider whether your child is over-scheduled.

Over-scheduling is a big source of school stress, experts say. Many high-school students enroll in more Honors or Advanced Placement courses than they can handle, and then pile extracurricular activities on top, says Denise Clark Pope, PhD, a lecturer at the Stanford University School of Education in Stanford, California, and author of Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed-Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students.

If parents filled their kids' schedules with more sleep, down time, and family time, Pope says, "We would not be in the situation we are today. It would be that dramatic of a change."

As a fellow student, O'Brien agrees: "Kids are so consistently worried about keeping up with 'what's next' and 'what's next,' that it's hard to sit down and say, 'Wow, I'm stressed out. Let's find out why.'"

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