About 45% of teens said they had felt more stress than usual during COVID-19. This is a clear testimony of the heightened level of stress students are experiencing today. A good number of students are disengaged, some are recording declining performance while others have disappeared from school altogether. The situation has left classroom teachers feeling overwhelmed, making it important for parents to step in. But what can parents do to help reduce student stress? Here’s what to know.
Learn to Listen
The disruptions occasioned by the pandemic have had a huge impact on students’ mental health. To help your child cope with stress during these difficult times, you should learn to listen to them and focus on their emotions. Encouraging open communication will make it easy for your child to talk about their fears, struggles, and shortcomings. This way, you will know what is going on in their life and help them learn that no one is perfect.
Shift of Mindset
There is no doubt that academic excellence is very important. However, stellar academic performance does not guarantee eventual success in life. You also need to appreciate that students have different strengths, interests, and abilities. Rethinking and changing your approach towards academics will allow you to offer the support your child needs, effectively reducing the pressure and stress they experience.
Ensure the Right Amount of Sleep
Lack of adequate sleep increases the risk of depression, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. Make sure your child maintains a consistent sleep schedule and enjoys good sleep quality. Your child should also get the right amount of sleep for improved physical and emotional health. Children aged between six and twelve should get nine to twelve hours of sleep per night while teens should get eight to ten hours of sleep.
Serve a Healthy Diet and Encourage Exercise
Self-care strategies can go a long way in helping to reduce stress levels. A varied and healthy diet will help in managing student stress and anxiety. This is why you may want to make fruits, vegetables, whole-grain foods, and proteins part of your family meals. In addition, encourage your children to engage in physical activity every day. Consider turning off screens so they can go outside to play or take part in organized sports.
Teach Them Time Management Skills
Good time management skills will ensure students have enough time to work on their studies as well as participate in co-curricular activities. This way, they will have the time and room needed to decompress and develop through non-academic activities. Since your children look up to you for acceptance and affirmation, you should help them set realistic goals for themselves and manage expectations as they work towards achieving them.
Be a Friend
Your child needs you to be by their side to support them during these hard times. Being a friend and providing parental support will help the child build resilience against stress. Make sure you show interest in other aspects of your children’s lives besides academic grades. You can also engage them in topics that are of interest to them. However, the support you provide should still allow the student to build their ability to handle adversity.
Watch Out for Signs of Mental Illness
Teens with anxiety and stress often suffer in silence. You need to recognize the warning signs of serious mental health issues and intervene accordingly. Take note of issues such as anti-social behavior, drug use and abuse, a drop in grades, sleep disturbances, and changes in eating habits.
Learn More About Reducing Student Stress
At the end of the day, stress is a multifaceted problem. As such, all stakeholders should play their respective roles and work together to reduce it. At The Tenney School, we use a Hybrid-Flexible approach to school to help keep our community healthy during this pandemic while ensuring students achieve their goals. Feel free to contact us today to learn more.