Suzanne Stevenson is the family life education program manager at The Parenting Center in Fort Worth.
There are two types of stress, good and bad. Good stress helps adults and children “get things done.” Bad stress is constant and unrelenting, called distress. It can actually make adults and children feel sick. Keep these things in mind as spring schedules blossom into full bloom. Parents may notice more tension and anxiety in their children but cannot pinpoint the source. Spring stress comes on gradually – after-school activities such as soccer, baseball and recitals re-enter the schedule. Tutoring may join the list as students prepare to take assessment exams.
While after-school activities can be a great way to reduce stress, an overloaded schedule can cause distress. Choose activities carefully and make sure there is enough time for homework, dinner and calming bedtime routines that allow adequate sleep.
Test anxiety is one of the main types of stress in school-age children. Help children establish a study schedule so that preparation for any test can be managed in smaller units of time. Consider studying with the child; it is surprising what complex concepts children are learning.
Remember, children take cues from their parents. Model healthy ways to deal with pressure and listen carefully when children say they are overwhelmed.
This article was originally published in July 2012.