HELP YOUR KIDS COPE WITH SCHOOL STRESS

As re­search finds that 73% of girls and 52% of boys in Eng­land feel pres­sured by school work, Emma pro­vides some strate­gies

Closer (UK) - - Life Balance -

Y

oung peo­ple in Y the UK have some of the poor­est men­tal well­be­ing in the world, on top of hav­ing wor­ry­ingly high lev­els of school stress. There is lit­tle you can do as a par­ent to avoid them hav­ing to go through SATS, GCSES and the other zil­lion tests they will have to sit as they grow up, but you can help them to cope with such stres­sors ef­fec­tively. Get­ting chil­dren or­gan­ised is key. My el­dest is 15 and deal­ing with his GCSES and, if I left him to his own de­vices, he would sit in his room eat­ing crisps and play­ing games. In­stead, he has a sched­ule that we have agreed to­gether, with re­vi­sion time, home­work time, play­time and chill time. I also sit down with him to go through his re­vi­sion reg­u­larly. It’s help­ful to help kids re­frame their fears with plan Bs. Of­ten, they gen­uinely be­lieve that their lives will be over should they fail ex­ams. Tell them about re-sits, ap­pren­tice­ships and on-the-job train­ing pro­grammes, and also give them ex­am­ples of suc­cess­ful peo­ple who strug­gled at school. Keep them calm by get­ting them out­side with you for some ex­er­cise or a sim­ple walk, and use free Youtube re­lax­ation videos. An­chor­ing [a tech­nique used to stim­u­late a pos­i­tive re­sponse from some­one] is also help­ful – you can learn about it on­line and your chil­dren can use it when they are anx­ious. Re­as­sure them of­ten, by telling them that your love and sup­port doesn’t re­quire good grades, but ef­fort, and that whether they ace the test or not, you’ll be there for them. Hav­ing that ex­plic­itly ex­plained has a hugely pos­i­tive im­pact.

YOUR GUIDE TO EMO­TIONAL IS­SUES AND FAM­ILY LIFE WITH PSY­CHOL­O­GIST EMMA KENNY

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