6 Tips For Reducing Your Child’s Stress and Anxiety

Is your child experiencing stress? Are they struggling to make it through to a successful end of the school year? Do you know a student who is going through a tough time preparing for their finals? Sadly, I see it every day in my classroom. This can leave parents feeling hopeless and helpless, as though there is absolutely nothing that you can do to make things easier and with the amount of pressure that students are under, it can be hard to give them the support that they need. With over 10% of school children experiencing symptoms of anxiety, it’s hard to know when to help and how. 

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Facing the Fears

When people are afraid of situations, there is a high chance that they will want to do everything they can to avoid it. Instead of encouraging your child to avoid stressful situations, you should encourage them to face them head-on. The anxiety will reduce naturally over time, not to mention that it will show them that it is possible for them to deal with the stress they are feeling. The body can’t be anxious for long, it’s just not possible. There is a biological system in place that helps to calm the body down, so you have to trust that this concept applies to your child as well. The stress that they are under may feel unbearable, but know that they can get through it and tell them that they can as well. Taking them out of school or letting them take days off will only make things worse, as it reinforces the thought of them not being able to get through the situation.

Nobody is Perfect

Children often think that they have to be perfect to succeed, whether it is in sports or even in their academic performance. Sometimes parents may forget that kids just need to be kids. School is often far too grade driven. If students don’t achieve A+ grades then they may feel like a complete failure, so it’s important for parents to encourage them during this time and to tell them that nobody is perfect. Some parents feel the need to put even more pressure on their children when finals come along because they want them to do well; the truth is that this can make things even worse and their performance may even suffer as a result. Sometimes it helps for parents to take a back seat and encourage them to relax from time to time. They won’t get a perfect grade every time, and you need to know this as well as them.

Be Positive

Children who experience stress will probably go through a lot of negative thoughts. They may also experience self-criticism. It’s a good idea for parents to try and reinforce the positive aspects of any situation as well. This will remind them to focus on the positives and it will also help to pull them through this difficult and stress-filled time. Try and be upbeat, encourage them and tell them that you believe in them. If they come back with a bad result, let them know that it is okay and work with them to try and move past it. I like to think of it as being a soft place for them to land.

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Find a Way To Relax

Kids need to relax and just be kids from time to time. Fun activities such as sports can quickly become about success instead of being about having fun. This is especially around finals, because your child may feel pressure in every aspect of their life. When your kids are out playing sports or when they are doing something that could be seen as being competitive, make sure that they are doing it to have fun and to just unwind. You could encourage them to take a walk with a friend, find a quiet place to relax and read, or even go on an adventure with the FFXV strategy game –  taking a pause by engaging in little things like this can really go a long way when it comes to their stress levels, and it gives them the time that they need to take a break from the challenge of always trying to be successful.

Sleep!

If your child is not getting enough sleep or if they are finding it hard to relax at the end of the night then try and work with them to make sure that they are not having too much caffeine before bed. A lot of kids consume energy drinks and coffee to try and stay awake. This could be so that they can study longer or it can also be because they just don’t want to sleep. After all, when we go to sleep, we wake up and it is the day of the exam they are worrying about. If your child is not sleeping properly, support them with a routine. Encourage them to read a book before bed, consider essential oils and even have a family movie night. When you’re running low on sleep, your emotions can quickly get out of control and they can also make things seem worse than they actually are, so it really is crucial. Many of my students sleep only 6-7 hours each night!

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Knowing When to Stop

We want to teach our children to soar – but your child may feel under constant pressure to succeed and study and at times, you may think that they are studying a bit too much. This is more than possible and it may even cause them to experience even more anxiety because of the pressure they are piling on themselves and the constant thought of having to learn. It’s important that parents recognize when your child is studying too much and stop them if they are focusing too much. Studying too much is as bad as not studying enough because the brain eventually gets to the point where it cannot absorb any more information and this will only lead to more frustration. Tell your child that they have done enough and no matter what happens, you will be there to support them in every possible situation. Teaching kids healthy boundaries is key to learning to be successful adults.

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Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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Is your kid going away to college?

Is Your Kid Going Away To College?

is your kid going away to college?
Just before she went away to college – the first time.

Is your kid going away to college? It’s getting close, isn’t it? That back-to-school time of year when you’re watching all the school supplies go on sale, feeling the frenzy of finishing all the last minute summer to-do bucket lists and wondering how you’re going to get your kids up and ready for that early morning class….

Or wait. Maybe not. Maybe this is the year that your kid is going away to college, and instead of anticipating that photo-in-front-of-the-door and watching them load the bus or ride their bike down the street, you’re full of anxiety about the unknown – about how your life will be different once your kid is out of the house and safely settled into their new dorm room.

I know exactly how you feel.

My girl started college three years ago, and I still shed a few tears about what used to be. I still wonder if I can take her back-to-school shopping (Amazon Prime is my new best friend), and instead of snapping a photo on the front step, I’m getting Snapchats as she and her brother have one last summer adventure backpacking together in the Grand Tetons and Yellowstone.

One thing that has really helped me struggle through these college years is all the connections I’ve made with other moms who are either going through it or have come out the other side. I’ve shared my emotions all over my blog, I’ve read them in Listen To Your Mother and on the Huffington Post, and this year, I thought I’d put them all together for the new moms who are navigating this new territory right now.

Is Your Kid Going Away To College? You might like these posts:

  • I wrote about choosing a college in my 2013 post about taking college tours through Oregon and Washington. Funny – she didn’t end up in either of those states!
  • In 2014, I had no idea what to say to her as she left for college, so I wrote one of my most popular posts, Letter To My College-Bound Daughter. Maybe this will give you some ideas on what to say to your own kid!
  • After I dropped her off at college 650 miles away from home, I couldn’t get the words of the convocation out of my mind. I realized that what I really wanted for her was to learn to find the extraordinary in the ordinary, and my thoughts turned into a post I shared on Listen To Your Mother. And I even read it without crying!
  • In 2015, I wrote another letter – but this time, it was to Parents Leaving Their Kids At College. It seemed to me that for the second year, the kids had it under control – it was the parents who had no idea how sophomore year would be different!
  • Shortly after the parent letter, I wrote about how absolutely emotional it was leaving her at college the second year – knowing she had her own house and was feeling overwhelmed with installing curtain rods and COSTCO shopping. I’ll admit  I felt a little ridiculous tearing up, since I had already done this once before, but I still sobbed into the sunrise as I drove home.
Is your kid going away to college?
This summer, on top of Squaw Peak, cherishing our time together.

This August is different, too. I’m working on a ‘leaving her the third year’ kind of post, but what I’m noticing is that it’s not so much leaving her at college that’s freaking me out this year, but her leaving home for good – it feels like she’s really so much more on her own now, and not ever going to be living her again.

So just remember, I’m here for you. I don’t have all the answers, but I can listen and offer some advice. All WILL be well. They WILL be Ok. You WILL miss them, but they will miss you, too.

Hang in there, mama. This is what you’ve prepared them for!

Jennifer Wolfe

Jennifer Wolfe, a writer-teacher-mom, is dedicated to finding the extraordinary in the ordinary moments of life by thinking deeply, loving fiercely, and teaching audaciously. Jennifer is a Google Certified Educator, Hyperdoc fanatic, and a voracious reader. Read her stories on her blog, mamawolfe, and grab free copies of her teaching and parenting resources.

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