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End of the School Year Stressing Your Kids Out?

  • Category: Kids' Tips
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baton Rouge General
End of the School Year Stressing Your Kids Out?

The end of a school year can bring lots of different emotions for kids. While that typically means excitement for the summer, it can also mean stress, anxiousness, or sadness. May is one of the busiest months for parents and schools, so it’s important to be in tune with your kids and take time to check in regularly.

There are quite a few potential trouble spots during this time of transition:

End-of-year exams or grades

A study by NYU found that 49% of students experience stress caused by school on a daily basis. While that can include social issues, academics is a big source of that stress. Help perfectionist kids put their grades and exams in perspective. Validate their feelings of stress or anxiety, but do remind them to celebrate their successes without picking them apart. Share stories of times you’ve made mistakes or bombed an exam and how you moved on. Be vulnerable and accepting, and show them it’s safe to feel all kinds of emotions.

Upcoming change in schools

Do what you can to alleviate the unknowns that may be a source of stress. For example, attend any events for incoming students at your child’s new school or schedule a tour. Talk to kids and families at the new school to get all the insider information and details.

Pressure of “what’s next” for seniors

May is full of exciting events for seniors, but with that comes a lot of pressure to have it all figured out and varied emotions about leaving the friends, teachers and school that have been “home” for years. Be there to help with logistics of college plans and summer jobs, but just as importantly, give them affirmations along the way. For example, “I know this is a lot, but I’m really proud of how you’re working through it.” And reiterate that you are there to talk through whatever is on their mind, any time.

Anxiousness about summer plans or change in routine

Some kids thrive on structure, so the idea of long, boring summer days can cause anxiety. Have a sit-down to map out summer plans, from camps to trips to volunteering. This gives them something to look forward to, and will hopefully minimize them sitting in front of a screen for hours on end. If your child is attending a sleep-away camp, there may be some heightened stress. Make sure to involve them in the process of camp planning to give them some ownership, get them excited by shopping for camp items, acknowledge their concerns with empathy, and make sure to have a plan for communication throughout.

Loss of connection or time with school friends

When kids go their separate ways at the end of the school year, it can be tricky to stay connected. Schedule summer playdates or hang-outs with school friends even before summer hits. Whether it’s an afternoon at the park or even just Facetiming, staying in touch can help reduce anxiety and make kids feel better about the upcoming year.

During this time, continue to encourage open communication, whether with a school counselor or family, so that you can provide support and offer coping skills to work through any issues. As parents, managing your own stress around this transition is important so that you’re not unintentionally causing more stress for your kids.

And it’s always important to make sure kids are getting enough sleep and physical activity, as well as a healthy diet, despite the extracurricular activities and late nights.

While some stress surrounding school is typical, if it feels out of control for your adolescent, there are resources to help. Talk to their doctor about connecting with a counselor or mental health professional. If they are already connected with one, make sure to keep up with regular sessions despite the busy time of year. Telehealth options are more readily available than ever before, so keep that in mind.