Four fab stress busters!

Have you noticed your child showing signs of stress? Given that over half of schools across the UK recently reported an increase in kids feeling more anxious, stress is becoming a more common childhood experience than ever before.

With endless pressure to pass exams and achieve – on top of the usual hormone battles – the mix is a potentially damaging one.

Firstly, bad stress impacts on learning. Anxiety stops the brain from processing and retaining information. As a result, frustration can set in – leading to children feeling overwhelmed.

Of course, stress can be a motivator. It’s a natural part of life… That’s why it matters that we help children to feel more empowered by the challenges ahead, not daunted by them. Here’s four ways to do it.

Strategies to beat stress

  1. Set realistic goals: Rome wasn’t built in a day. When you help your child win the smaller challenges, it helps build their resilience to cope with the bigger ones. Achievable step-by-step targets across several months also break down the enormity of the final exam.
  2. Make mistakes: Making mistakes helps children learn. If your child writes a story or essay, or does a subject practice paper and the result isn’t what they expected, encourage them to think about the result differently. Rather than dwelling on negatives, get them to ask: what could I have done better? Or What worked well? Reflecting on what went wrong and right, encourages a more balanced response.
  3. Think positively: Negative self-talk is something we all need to deal with at times. But in children looking for acceptance and success in life, it’s even more important that we teach our children to feel good about having a go, to accept failure and then move on to the next challenge. Encourage your child to see that doing their best on the day is good enough.
  4. Pamper yourself: Exams are not everything in life. Help your child get what their body needs: sleep, nourishing food, relaxation, fresh air. Don’t pass on your deep worries about them passing or failing exams; just try to encourage them instead. This will help them relax during downtime rather than dwell on problems.

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