School is one of the most critical stages of life for our kids.
School is where they learn not only the foundations of their future academic pursuits, but also develop social skills, interests, personality. School can also be the source of much stress and anxiety.
As children get older, they have many responsibilities, heavy workloads, and social interaction.
And they might not always know how to handle it.
As the parent, it falls on us to keep an eye on our kids and on any behavioral or emotional changes, which can clue us in to our kids’ mental states.
If they don’t fully grasp what they are experiencing, how will they let us know?
By being proactive and looking out these 10 warning signs, will answer the question: Is your child stressed about school? The article will also cover what to do if the answer is yes?
What Do We Mean When We Say “Stress”?
Stress is a feeling of tension.
It can come from any event and makes your child feel angry, frustrated, and/or nervous.
It triggers your fight-flight response. Too much stress can cause long term health issues.
Stress can be both positive and negative.
Positive stress is usually called eustress, which sharpens the thinking skills and helps the body to perform better.
Negative stress is called distress, which has the opposite effect.
School often entails negative stress and can disrupt the way your child thinks, feels, and acts.
Now that we understand what stress is, let’s look at the warning signs you might notice in your kids.
10 Warning Signs That Answersthe Question: Is Your Child Stressed About School?
1) Is Your Child Isolating Themselves?
Avoiding others and always being isolated is one sign your teen is struggling with stress.
Pay attention to how your child is interacting with friends and guests.
Spending more time in his room can be a sign that he is struggling and unable to express himself carefreely.
2) Is Your Child Behaving Differently?
A critical symptom of stress in a child is behavioral change.
Parents should always monitor the child’s behavior.
A child could suddenly behave aggressively, such as biting and kicking, or lashing out with a short temper. Don’t react or retaliate with anger, no matter how upsetting or frustrating this might be.
Once your child has calmed down, talk to them openly and let them know you are here for them, and encourage them to discuss their feelings with you without judgment or anger.
If you choose to discipline them, e.g., giving time out to younger kids, grounding, banning technology use, etc., explain to them what they did wrong.
Remember, if you react negatively, you are only adding on to the child’s stress, instead of working towards a solution.
3) Is Your Child Overreacting to Little Things?
Exaggerating behavior is all about overreacting to small problems.
There is nothing wrong with occasional overreaction; we are all guilty of it sometimes when it starts raining unexpectedly, or we’re already out the door without the keys.
But if your child frequently overreacts to small matters, like getting stuck on homework questions, it could be a sign of stress that they are unable to express.
4) Do You Notice Any Changes to Your Child’s Routine?
A significant sign of stress is a change in routine behavior.
Change in appetite – eating too much or too little – is a big sign that your child may be stressed.
If your child has been wetting the bed recently, complaining about nightmares, sleepwalking, etc., these could all stem from stress.
Becoming more fatigued and tired can contribute to stress.
To avoid this kind of pattern, parents should maintain a regularly scheduled routine at home, which balances work and play.
Don’t expect your child to come back home from school and dive straight into homework, or to spend several hours at a stretch studying.
Pressure of this nature, without enough breaks in between, can cause stress, too.
5) Does Your Child have Trouble Concentrating?
Due to anxiousness and exuberance, your child may face difficulties concentrating on homework and classes.
Your child might be having problems focusing on what teachers are saying or remembering material from classes or notes.
To increase your child’s concentration, you need to pinpoint the source of the child’s stress and address it directly.
For instance, if stress arises from difficulty with a particular subject, assigning more work from that subject without finding the root of the problem won’t solve the issue.
Identifying the child’s learning style and developing a better learning strategy suited to them could help them learn better and concentrate more.
Keep your mind open to the possibility that concentration issues could stem from learning differences, like dyslexia of ADHD.
If you find your child has difficulty reading or writing, tends to get tired quickly, or is too restless to focus, seek an expert diagnosis.
By knowing what your child is going through, you are better able to help them overcome their challenges.
6) Does Your Child Get Excited or Scared of Going to School?
If it is scared, then you can be sure that your child is stressed about school.
Many kids feel very excited and enthusiastic about school.
But kids who are suffering from distress lack this excitement.
They often lack interest in studies.
Instead of writing off their unwillingness to get up in the morning, or repeated claims of being too sick to go to school, as laziness, consider this is due to negative stress from school. The reason could be the school atmosphere, mentors, or classmates.
Another reason could be due to inferior complexity among peers or learning differences they are struggling with, causing them to fall behind the class.
To avoid this, parents should freely open up with the child and listen to all concerns they bring up, even if they appear to be small.
7) Is Your Child Complaining About Health Issues?
Stress often manifests in health issues like headaches, frequent stomach pain, and other bodily concerns.
Insomnia and oversleeping are also symptoms that your child is feeling stressed.
If you notice these recurring concerns with your child, it may be indicative of stress affecting their physical wellbeing.
8) Is Your Child Feeling Pressured to Do Well in School?
Sometimes academic pressure can also be the root cause of stress.
It often stems from peer and parental expectations.
Many children also expect to have high grades in school and accumulate stress when they can’t meet these expectations.
While encouraging your child to do well in school, make sure you are not putting more pressure on them than they can handle.
9) Is Your Child Able to Maintain Eye-Contact?
Distressed eye contact can interfere with everyday socially.
If your child is unable to keep eye contact with you, then he/she may be suffering from distress.
Teach your kid to have good eye contact and help them work on their confidence.
Confidence in themselves helps them overcome the adverse effects of stress.
10) Is Your Child Unable to Sit Still?
One sign of stress is restlessness.
Your child may keep on shaking their hands or legs while sitting, tapping their foot, or picking at their nails.
Restlessness can stem from anxiety, a tactile learning style, or could be a sign that your child may have a learning difficulty such as ADHD, amongst other causes.
Rather than dismissing this sort of behavior only as hyperactivity, discuss with your child the potential cause of their restlessness, and seek help.
Ways in Which You Can Help Your Child Overcome Stress
- Make your home a secure and safe place for the child, a getaway from school.
Maintain a relaxed atmosphere and always commit to a routine. Family dinner, get-togethers, and fun games among the family can prevent stress and relieve stress.
- Parents should always keep an eye on kid’s television shows, videos, and books to ensure they are not consuming any problematic content.
- Get your child involved in sports and social activities they enjoy and are interested in.
- Adopt healthy habits as a family, such as self-care and exercise to manage stress in a healthy way.
- Help your child with time management. Stress could arise from an inability to balance extracurricular activities and social activities.
- If your child is struggling in academics and homework, help them to build better skills or seek out the help of experts where needed.
- Encourage and motivate your kid in all possible ways. Remember to hear all their thoughts patiently so they know they can confide in you.
- Guide your children to recognize the problem which they are facing. Work together with them for some possible solutions to that problem.
- If you notice your child is sensitive towards certain media, e.g., they get scared easily, avoid these kinds of entertainment.
- Parents should always be in touch with school mentors, because they spend a good part of the week with them and pick up on warning signs you miss at home.
- If your child’s stress is prolonged, consult a pediatrician and take necessary steps.
- One sure-fire way to reduce distress is to stay connected with the children. Make sure you spend some time with your kids, engaging with them one to one, without phones and distractions.
- Make sure that your child enjoys a healthy and balanced diet every day. Make sure that your child gets 8 hours of sleep daily.
- If a child refuses to talk about his/her stress, then speak to them about your own.
If they feel that they can safely discuss these conditions with you, and won’t make you think any less of them, they open up to you more willingly.
- Fear of making a mistake is a simple reason kids get stressed. Help your child to figure out how to deal with mistakes and learn from them.
- It is necessary for your child to understand their own bodies and the physiology of stress.
Try to motivate them to understand what their mind and body are saying.
For example, the first day of school is an exciting one for the kids, which creates a level of anxiety; this condition is normal for all kids.
- Many times, stressed children get away from positive thoughts and self-criticism.
They may focus on the half-empty glass instead of a half-filled glass.
Help your child to think about every situation in a positive aspect.
There can be many causes of stress.
External causes, such as school, or internal causes, like a death in the family, the birth of a new sibling, etc. can trigger distress or eustress.
The more life changes, stress can shake a child’s sense of security, leading to confusion and distress.
Knowing the 10 warning signs indicating your child’s stress about school helps you act before the problem becomes any bigger.
By knowing what the symptoms are, you are better able to help your child alleviate and avoid stress.
Have you noticed any of these 10 warning signs that answer the question, is your child stressed at school?
Do you think their symptoms are tied to stress?
How are you helping them overcome it?
Let us know!
Varshini Murali is a content strategist at SchoolBasix, and researches on the latest topics that the education industry is discussing. She specializes in handling blogs, including marketing and circulating across social media, and holds a Master’s degree in Marketing.