7 Ways Parents Can Help Their Students Cope With Stress
Help your student effectively manage their stress.
The school year can create stress and anxiety for school-aged children. But with the right tools and tricks, parents can help their students appropriately manage that stress and anxiety. Check out these 7 helpful and practical suggestions to help your child be successful at school without suffering from unnecessary stress and anxiety.
Common Causes of Anxiety in School-Aged Children
Before going into the suggestions on how to help your child cope with their stress and anxiety, it might be helpful to understand the common causes. In addition, it’s essential to realize that what might cause stress for one student might not cause stress for another. As adults, we have learned how to combat many stressful situations and may have forgotten that things weren’t always as easy for us as they are now.
The fact is childhood stress comes from many sources, including deadlines, tests and exams, lack of organization, procrastination, overcrowding in the school, too much noise, and the need to adjust to a new school environment. But not all stress for school-aged children comes from school. Children also often cite poor housing conditions, personal relationships, challenges with their parents, and other external factors. And though not all stress is bad, school-aged children can benefit when their parents help them learn how to manage the various responsibilities that come with the school year.
1. Communication is key.
One of the very best things parents can do for their children to help them combat stress is practice open communication. Allow your child to share their concerns and open up about their day. A great way to encourage your child to talk to you is by asking them open-ended questions when they get home from school, at dinner time, or during their bedtime routine. Ask your children about the new friends they are meeting, what they think about their teachers, and if there is anything that is challenging them and how you can support them. Your kids will be happy to know that you are there to listen or lend a helping hand.
2. Encourage creative outlets.
Though communication is key, so too is helping your child find a creative outlet. Having a creative outlet helps lower stress, increase happiness, and provide a sense of purpose at school or work. So help your child find a creative passion such as painting, journaling, or working with puzzles. If creative projects are not your child’s thing, help them find a physical activity they enjoy. Some exercise can do the body well and may lessen the detrimental impacts of stress.
3. Teach your children how to practice calming techniques.
Learning relaxation techniques at an early age can help set your child up for success down the road. Calming techniques, often referred to as relaxation techniques, decrease the effects of stress on your child’s mind and body. These techniques aren’t difficult to learn and can help your child cope with everyday stress from school, home, or anywhere in their environment. Standard calming methods include deep breathing, meditation, yoga, aromatherapy, and music and art therapy.
4. Stick to a regular routine.
Though some people like to fly by the seat of their pants for lack of another expression, a routine can be beneficial for school-aged children. Rituals and routines build a sense of safety and normalcy. And just about anything can be made into a routine — your sleep schedule, dental hygiene routine, skincare routine, homework routine, etc. But, of course, routines don’t need to be boring either, so look for ways to make them fun. For example, make tooth brushing time a fun time, especially for younger kids, and reward consistent tooth brushing as well as cavity-free trips to the dentist.
5. Understand the impact stress has on the body.
Stress can have quite a negative impact on the body and oral health. And for children and adults alike, stress can lead one to clench their teeth and develop bruxism (habitual teeth grinding) during sleep. Untreated bruxism is correlated with pain, tooth fractures, headaches, and even temporomandibular disorders (TMJ syndrome). If your child is experiencing bruxism due to stress, be sure to request an appointment with Valley Dental Clinic. In addition, we can prescribe your child a nightguard, which can help protect those pearly whites.
6. Focus on only what you and your child can control.
All too often, we let ourselves worry about things that are out of our control or realm of influence. And for kids, this can easily get out of control, especially when they compare themselves to other classmates. Teach your child how to control their mindset and take control of their actions. Further, praise children for their effort, positive strategies, hard work, persistence, ability to rise to a challenge, and self-accountability. Refrain from rewarding your child excessively for specific talents, being “smart,” fixed abilities, or not making a mistake.
7. Lead by example and manage your own stress.
Our children pay close attention to what we say and do as parents, so we must take time to handle our stress as well. The better we care for ourselves as adults, the better we can help our children manage their stress. If you have some bad habits to fix, start by getting adequate doses of essential nutrients, at least 30 minutes of physical activity a few days a week, and a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night. When you feel stressed or overwhelmed, it can be easy to fall into bad habits such as watching too much television, eating unhealthy foods, or staying up too late.
The Valley Dental Clinic can help with bruxism brought on by stress.
If you have discovered that your child is grinding their teeth at night, your family dentist near Anchorage can help. We make it easy to request an appointment for you or your child. If it’s your child’s first visit, we’ll take X-rays and provide a thorough gum assessment and cleaning as well as an oral cancer screening. Further, we’ll provide recommendations on how your child can improve their oral hygiene routine, and we’ll prescribe a nightguard if needed. Most importantly, we’ll be happy to address any questions or concerns you or your child may have.