Whether your child is about to start primary school or they’re preparing for university, the educational experience is just as stressful for the parent as it is for the child. You want them to succeed just as much as they do (perhaps more so). But you also want them to have an enjoyable experience. Obviously, most kids say they don’t enjoy school, but there should always be some positive aspects. In particular, they should make friends and learn things which enrich them as a person. That’s the goal – that’s what you want for them. If you want to reduce some of the school-based stress experienced by both kids and parents in your household then here are a few suggestions.
You can call them “extracurricular activities” if that sounds more productive to you, but you’ll probably want to call them “hobbies” when proposing the idea to your kids. Doing something outside of school is important for your child’s development. Sure, they might enjoy gaming or hanging out with friends, but we’re talking about hobbies that help them on a physical or a mental level. Regular exercise is a good habit to develop at a young age, for example. Many younger people don’t really think about that, but they will when they get older and their metabolism slows down. You could encourage them to take up a fun sport with their friends such as basketball or football so that they’re exercising without even thinking about it.
As for hobbies that could help your child develop non-physical skills, you might want to suggest that they learn an instrument. Think about the type of music they like and go from there. If they like rock music then you could ask them whether they’d want to learn to play guitar or the drums. It’d teach them good coordination skills. If they’re more into rap or pop music then you could even get them some music software so they can try creating songs for themselves. And encourage them to take music as an option at school if they can. When suggesting hobbies, your goal is to notice an interest of your child’s that could be turned into a fun and educational activity. It’ll help them to combat stress to have a fun hobby outside of school, but it’ll also help them to develop skills that they could use in the classroom.
Talk to teachers
An important way in which you could reduce school-based stress for both yourself and your children is to talk to teachers. Your kids might not like the idea of you talking to their teachers, but you can do so subtly when you’re picking them up from school (or you could organise a meeting over the phone). It gives you the opportunity to put your mind at ease if you’re worrying about your child’s progress or experience at school. It also gives you the opportunity to find ways that you could put your child’s mind at ease if they’re worrying too. Or it could simply be a chance for you to find out how your child’s doing if you’re unsure as to whether you’re getting the full picture. Whether you’re worried about their academic work or relationships with other classmates, talking to an authoritative adult figure who sees them throughout the school day is always the best way to get some answers.
Of course, talking to teachers also gives you the opportunity to offer feedback and suggestions for improvements to the school and its style of learning. Even if you can’t change everything, it’s always reassuring to know that you’ve voiced your opinion. You might even want to suggest that the school starts using this app to organise school trips. Being able to manage an itinerary more easily would help the teachers, but it’d also be comforting for you and the other parents to get live updates on the progress of a school outing with the trip tracker. Little differences such as this could put you at ease. Remember that your child’s teacher can alleviate any doubts or concerns if you’re worrying about something. It’s better to talk directly to them rather than enduring the stress of trying to coax information out of stubborn kids. We all know how tiring that can be.
Encourage online revision
You might also be able to help your children deal with the stress of an overwhelming workload by encouraging online revision. Reading endless textbooks is an old-fashioned and exhausting style of revising. In some cases, it’s necessary, but the internet has opened up the possibility for people to gain all the information they need on a subject through different web-based resources. The great thing about many websites and online tools designed for revision is that they compartmentalise and structure topics in an easily-digestible and manageable way. It might just make subjects easier to understand for your children. Given the stress of looming exams, that’s exactly what they need.
Prioritise sleep in your household
The final piece of advice to help you and your children reduce school-based stress is to prioritise sleep in your household. This is a piece of advice that more families could do with accepting. As children get older, their bedtimes get later, but this isn’t necessarily an act of rebellion. Many kids have so much to worry about at school that they might struggle to sleep properly. And if they stay up late to finish homework then they’re not going to get 8 hours of rest before waking up in the morning to get ready. Make sure you help them organise their time so as to ensure they can get to bed early and wake up feeling refreshed. A good sleeping pattern is so important for their physical and mental health. Whilst they’re young, it’s particularly important to their development. But a good sleeping pattern is important for the parents too. Sleep deprivation only exacerbates stress, so you’ll find that you’re better equipped to help your child if you get enough rest every night. School might seem a little less overwhelming for all of you.