It’s a different world our children live in today.
The technology and social connections immediately available to our youth truly are astounding. Of course, there is a lot of good that can come from it. After all, digital learning was not an option decades ago.
But there is something unique our kids face now, and that’s stress levels to that of an adult.
A poll conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) showed that teens are experiencing greater stress levels than today’s adults. Teens reported feeling stressed at 5.8 on a scale of 10 (3.9 is considered the healthy average for teens). In contrast, adults reported their stress levels at 5.1 (3.6 is considered the healthy average for adults).
We’re not saying to pull your student out of all activities and get them to relax all day. However, there is something more alarming in this report:
The majority of teens did not feel that their stress levels were impacting their health. The majority also recognize their stress but do little to nothing to manage it.
Stress is a part of life. And if that’s the case, then there needs to be a healthy way to cope with it. To help you work with your student, we’ve put together some tips provided by guidance counselors in online education.
Signs your child might be experiencing high levels of stress
Psycom gives a few signs or symptoms to help you see if your teen is experiencing high levels of stress.
- Emotional changes beyond what appears “normal” for a maturing kid.
- Frequent stomach pains, headaches or other pains. The source of physical pains can greatly vary, but stress can certainly be a culprit.
- Changes in routines like eating, sleeping or other daily activities
- Your child seems more forgetful, can’t concentrate or is unusually careless
Tips to help your student manage stress
Tip 1: Get organized
You don’t want to create more stress by telling your child to get organized and clean up their space. But the truth is, having less clutter and a designated workspace can help the brain focus and potentially reduce stress.
Since we offer home school, virtual and flex school, your student has the advantage of working outside the traditional classroom. That can mean the comfort of home or maybe a coffee shop or by the pool (all great choices, by the way).
Make sure no matter where they work, they have a clean space and know where everything is to get work done and be productive.
Tip 2: Make sure they get enough sleep
Staying up all night to get a last-minute project done can be an OK thing to do once in a while. Sometimes, no matter how much we help them, our teens will still manage to procrastinate a large project, and losing sleep is the only option.
Not to mention, if you have a teenager, getting them to go to bed at a normal hour is no easy task.
Lack of sleep on a regular basis not only can cause stress, but it can also affect health. It impacts mood and mental health, while increasing chances of injuries and risky behavior.
Tip 3: Help them find ways to laugh it off
Things are not always going to go our way and that can be stressful. But sometimes it’s not up to us.
No matter how hard we work or how much we do to get something close to perfect, we will have bad moments in life that are out of our control. The key to managing stress in these situations is to “laugh it off” and move forward.
It’s important to allow your child time to express their feelings –vent– and even feel bad about it because we are all human. But for our own good, we need to spend more time looking for the positives that may have come from that situation and consider next time will be better.
Tip 4: Talk to an advisor
This is the most important tip. Elite counselors and advisors are here to help. It’s their jobs, and they’re passionate about it.
If you are unsure how to help your teen, reach out to them. They can help you map out a plan, and provide extra resources like counseling if needed.
Please note: These tips are only meant to help relieve stress levels. If you feel your child is experiencing depression, anxiety or has any other medical need, please seek professional help. In cases of emergencies, contact a California Crisis hotline.