Stress and School
Time spent at school is meant to be a time of self-discovery, education and self-improvement. However, we must also remember that it can be one of the most stressful periods in a child’s life.
“Stress is the adverse reaction people have to excess pressures or other types of demands placed on them. It arises when they perceive that they are unable to cope with those demands” UK Health and Safety Executive (2001).
The first thing that needs to be understood is that people do not respond to stress in the same way. Stress is simply what we feel as the result of how the human body reacts to certain internal or external demands. Each student will respond differently, even if the demands they face are identical.
At the same time, stress is not always a bad thing. Oftentimes, just the right amount of stress will encourage a student to study more or to try harder.
Even positive stress comes with noticeable effects that can be both mental (anxiety, fear) and physical (headaches, nausea, and stomach pain).
Internal sources of stress
The personality of the child can play a major role in being a source of stress. If your child uses internalization, and victimization when facing problems, has poor coping mechanisms, uses self blame, destructive and negative thinking, your child’s stress reaction will be very negative.
External sources of stress
The family environment can be an external source of stress: Separations and divorces, Economical situation, Changes and moves.
Parental attitude: how is the parental attitude with the child; perfectionist or relaxed, harsh, encouraging, or supportive
Since social life is a big part of school life, it's not a shock that social issues are the biggest worry for some children: change in friends, Bullying, appearance and fitting in.
Schoolwork is the most common source of stress in kids. With schoolwork comes parental pressure on the students to achieve outstanding performance and grades, or to meet parents’ expectations.
How to help your child in coping with stress
Sports and hobbies: include sports and hobbies in your child’s routine helps in gaining a balance between the pressure at school and the stress relief in the leisure time gained in those activities.
Support system: talk to your child about the way he can utilize his support system when in need. Encourage seeking advice from teachers or counsellors; encourage sharing his worries with you and his friends
Maintain family time: it’s a regular opportunity to share events of the day or highlights of the week. It provides an opportunity for your children to vent about their daily stressors and get feedback.
Teach time-management skills: with today's heavy homework loads, time-management and organizational skills are crucial weapons against stress. Teach them to cut their school work in chunks, and not to leave their work till the last minute. Teach them about using time efficiently and wisely. Teach them about the optimal moments of concentration during their day.
Healthy coping mechanisms: Teach positive thinking, self-encouragement using positive self-talk. Guide them through taking control over the situation instead of giving up. Show them healthy problem-solving skills, like writing, drawing and positive communication.
Keep the fun in childhood: include daily fun and play as a stress relief. Maintaining a sense of humour in the house helps in reducing the stress on the kids.
Get enough sleep: insist on healthy sleep routine to help in coping with the upcoming stressors, as quality sleep plays a role in lifting the mood the next day and empowers the child with a good focus on his stressors.
Relaxation techniques: teach your child relaxation techniques based on breathing and visualization. Visualization is a mental image that people create in their head for a certain purpose. Parents can teach their children visualization by asking them to close their eyes and imagine a calm place. Then parents can ask their child to describe the image, then to describe how they are feeling in this image. Those techniques are very helpful to regain focus during stressful moments and to avoid unhealthy reactions.
As a caring parent, who is keen on reducing the stress level in your children’s lives, and teaching them healthy coping mechanisms, nutrition is an important element in the regulation and reduction of stress. NIDO Fortified with FortiGrow is the milk nutrition that helps support your child’s growth and development. It provides an optimized blend of key essential nutrients (Iron, Zinc, B-Vitamins, Calcium, Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin D) that are scientifically proven to support your child’s overall growth, cognitive development and mental alertness.
- coping with school stress, Katherine Kam, June 01, 2007www.webmd.com
- University of Georgia, “Managing Stress: A Guide for College Students”http://www.uhs.uga.edu/stress/index.html
- University of Dundee, “Coping with stress”
- Carleton University, “Coping with stress or crisis”,
- University of Georgia, “Sleep Rocks.. Get more of it!”,
- Mike Ronsisvalle, PsyD, Stress Relief For life, Siloam, 2011.
- Carole Spiers, Show Stress who’s Boss!, Filament Publishing, 2011