As the first trimester or semester is be coming to a close, you may start to notice your child getting more stressed over classes and exams. It is common for all kids to have some nerves over an important test or project. A certain amount of stress may help them focus and put more importance on their school work. So don’t stress out based on your kid’s stress. Instead, you can help them learn healthy stress coping habits and study habits. Even if math still feels like a foreign language to you and you don’t remember the last time you had to write a book report, these tips supported by top psychologists will easy for both your child and you to pick up on!
Homework Assignment #1: Getting Organized!
We all know how much better it feels to have everything written down and planned out. It is simple to help your child have the same feeling.
Help your kids get organized each night by showing them how to organize their papers and writing down their homework in a planner. Make the organization more fun and useful by color coordinating folders (or other organization tool) and the planner! Write down a class’s homework in the same color as that class’s folder!
Help your kids learn time management and keep them focused by making a homework schedule! This can look like for 30 minutes of work without distractions (no phone, music, or tv, etc.) they get a 5 minute break! Bring out some crafts or snacks during those 5 minutes as a reward.
Homework Assignment #2: Coping well with stress!
Coping well with stress is tools that all of us need to add to our tool box. Stress is a necessary part of life and continues past the school-aged years. It doesn’t have to be an overwhelming emotion though; stress can be helpful at times if we know the right ways to deal with it.
Talking it out with your kids can be exactly what they need. Let them tell you about their worries about school and even let them complain a little bit about it too if that’s how they are feeling! Just listening to them will make them feel loved, valid, and calmer.
The paper trick! This stress reducing strategy has been proven by psychologists in several experiments. On the day of the test and especially right before, have your child write down anything that they are thinking about on a blank piece of paper. This can be statements “I’m so worried. What if I??”, facts about the test, things that happened in their day, etc. Writing down everything that comes to their mind helps students become calmer and more focused during the exam.
Healthy behaviors are very important all the time but especially when we are stressed. Make sure your child is getting enough sleep, exercise (a fun study break idea!), and eating nutritious meals! Making them close the books and turn off electronics about 30 minutes before bed will help them sleep more soundly as well.
Celebration rewards make exams and studying fun! Think of a little sweet treat or special moment that you can share together after they finish examens or hit a studying checkpoint. It can be something smaller and cheap such as playing their favorite sport together or having a little dance party.
Have a growth mindset! One of the most important lessons that your child will learn in school is that their intelligence and abilities are not fixed. They can always grow and improve if they put in the work! Make sure when you encourage them that you focus on how hard they’re trying, and the progress that they’ve made. These are much more powerful than solely focusing on academic success as a special talent. Here are some examples of what to say and what to avoid!
It is just as important to teach your kids to talk to themselves this way too! Here are a few examples of ways they can do that.