A new school year is a source of stress for your child, especially if there are significant changes such as a new school, a new class or an upcoming important examination. Unknown to you, your child may be struggling to cope with stress, and as parents, it is vital for you to help him or her manage stress.
While a certain amount of stress motivates and spurs your child on, having too much stress on a daily basis is bad. The best way to help your child manage stress is to teach them how to solve problems, plan their schedules and know when to say no to unnecessary activities and commitments. Remind them that life is not always smooth going and that, at times, things do mess up.
Here are some ways that you can do to help your child manage stress.
1. Make school mornings calm by setting a routine
We have previously spoken about creating a routine for school so that your child can start the school year right. The same goes for starting the day on the right note. By setting up a routine and sticking to it, you make school mornings calmer and therefore, help your child to go to school feeling relax and happy. That will set the tone right for the day. If your child goes to school already feeling stressed, the rest of the day is likely to be equally stressful.
2. Do not over-schedule your child
Singapore is a competitive country, and many parents feel the need to make their children learn everything that can be acquired at a tender age. If you are guilty of doing that, perhaps it is time to look at your child’s schedule and see if they have enough downtime. Are there at least a few hours during the weekends or a few weeknights where your child can kick back and relax without worrying about homework, tuition or piano practice? If there isn’t, you may want to look at the activities and cut down on those which your child is not enjoying.
3. Explain the importance of sleep to your child
It is tempting for your child to stay up late on non-school nights to watch TV or read books. However, it is healthier for him or her to stick to the school night bedtime so that his or her body clock is attuned to the regular timing. Explain to your child why sleeping is crucial so that he or she does not fight you. If you have trouble with that, try to arrange an activity that he or she loves on the following morning so that sleep comes easier.
4. Make time to play
Children will always be children. They need time to play so that their bodies and minds can remain alert, curious and happy. Play should be pressure-free. There shouldn’t be a lesson behind it, or a goal to achieve. It should be simple and stress-free. The easiest way is to combine play with physical activity like a ball game, riding a bike or going for a hike at Bukit Timah Hill!
5. Teach your child to deal with mistakes
This is an excellent way to teach your child not to fear mistakes. Stress often comes because your child is afraid to be wrong. Tell him or her that it is alright not to know how to do something or to get everything right the first time. Teach him or her how to make good decisions and how to recover from a bad decision. When your child understands that it is ok to mess up now and then, he or she manage stress better.
Finally, it is also worth noting that stress is contagious! Manage your own stress and slow down your pace. If you are always hurrying from one place to another, your child will assume that it is normal. Show your child that it is perfectly alright to slow down, and appreciate life as it should be.