As adults, we’ve been learning to cope with stress our entire lives. Stress knows no age limit though, and it’s often hard for kids to find relief from stress. Math tests, science fair presentations, soccer tryouts, and making new friends are all code for stressssss-ful (cue eye rolling and sighs of frustration).
No one likes to see their children stressed out, confused, and frustrated. If things around the house have been a bit tense lately, try these stress-relieving activities for your kids.
Make Homework Less Hectic
As kids get older, homework assignments get bigger, and often more stressful. If homework time is a fight at your house, perhaps your child needs a new approach. Everyone learns differently. Try to tackle homework in ways that feel most natural for them. They may be a visual learner who understands best through graphs, presentations, and physical examples. Others may be more comfortable with reading and writing. Listening and audible learning could be the perfect solution for some kids. And if your child is hands-on, they’ll benefit most by trying something for themselves. A set game plan for homework is much more likely to allow your little Einstein to succeed.
Take a Break: Allow your kids a break between getting home from school and starting their homework. This lets them relax a bit, even subconsciously process what they’ve learned that day, instead of going straight from a stressful day at school to wrestling with confusing concepts at home with homework.
Assignment Checklist: Keep a checklist of assignments due each day or week. This way, your student is organized when they sit down to start their homework. Taking time to prep for a stressful activity can calm their mind and give them a path to follow. Plus, there’s something so satisfying about checking off tasks, right?
Gold Stars All Around: Create a reward system for good grades, a week of completed homework, or achieving a specific goal. Sometimes a physical reward is the best way to encourage perseverance through a stressful time. Whether it’s a special dinner after a good report card, a row of stickers after improved spelling tests, or extra TV time after a month of completed chores, when children know they’ll be rewarded, they’re happier to work at it.
Put on Your Thinking Cap: Encourage kids to stretch their brainpower by asking questions, explaining concepts in their own words, even teaching you what they’ve learned. If school and homework are scary, stressful, and intimidating for your little learner, empower them to feel confident to work their way through grasping a new concept.
Most importantly, teach them that learning isn’t just about recycling information; it’s about growing their minds and experiences. When homework is achievable, learning thrives and no one cries over long division.
Friends and Frenemies
Growing up is tough, and as this Ask the Scientists article on raising resilient children explains, so is guiding your child s as they grow and develop. Navigating friendships as a kid can be exhilarating, but it can also cause a lot of hurt feelings, frustration, and stress. Children (and adults, really) can struggle expressing their feelings to others. And sometimes, it’s difficult to communicate with those who are different from us. Too many children experience bullying (online and in the locker room), and this can lead to low self-esteem. If your child wakes up stressed about what they’ll have to face at school, it’s important to listen to them. Offer open ears, big hugs, and self-affirming, empowering advice. Share stories of your own childhood and frenemy experiences. If things get really difficult or never improve, don’t be afraid to discuss these issues with their friends’ parents, school teacher, or administration.