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Academic pressure is a major source of anxiety and stress for many children and teens.  As a parent, you want what is best for your child.  Here are a few pointers to help you ease the academic pressure your child might be feeling.

  1. Have a stress free homework routine.  After school allow your child or teen to have a snack.  Food will help them to be in a better mood and help their brain concentrate better.  It is difficult to think when you are hungry.  Set a regular routine where after they eat, do homework, and then they can be rewarded with play or exercise.
  2. Allow your child breaks.  The brain can only focus for certain amounts of time.  Children have a shorter attention span than adults.  If your child is having a difficult time sitting still, make a game out of the homework.  Say, “If you can focus and do this worksheet properly, you can have two minutes to play, or do whatever you like.  When I count to ten, we resume the homework again.”
  3. Take the pressure out of the home.  Everyone has strengths and weaknesses.  If your child is struggling in math, do not add more pressure by shouting or punishing them.  Sit down next to them and patiently explain it to them. If you are unable to be patient with them, hire a patient tutor.  Speak kindly to your child.  When your child is calm, they can think better.
  4. Allow play and exercise for added focus and brain power. Your child or teen needs to play and exercise to sit through school.  Exercise increases blood flow to the brain making it easier to focus and learn.  Children need to play to reduce stress.
  5. Stress reduction.  Anxiety and stress hinder learning because the fight or flight system is activated.  Anxiety and stress make it difficult to focus and learn.  Stress and anxiety can be reduced in different ways, such as play, art, exercise and breathing techniques.  Allow your child to open up to you and express how they are feeling without judgement and punishment.
  6. Sleep. Make sure your child or teenager is getting enough sleep at night.  Lack of sleep makes it difficult to learn.
  7. Proper nutrition.  Too much sugar will create fatigue and shorten attention span.  Proper nutrition and diet lead to a healthy body and brain.
  8. Remain calm.  The calmer you are, the calmer your child will be.  This enables a better learning environment in and outside of the home.
  9. Decrease screen time. Overstimulation from the iPad, television, computer, video games and phone decrease attention. Limit the amount your teen or child is allowed to use these electronic devices.

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Dr Monica Borschel is a US-trained Clinical Psychologist who specialises in loss and attachment.  Get in touch with Dr Borschel: m.borschel@mindnlife.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/drmonicaborschel

One comment

  1. The child isn’t the problem. The parents are (and the teachers). If the parents are unwilling to create the right structured learning environment for their kids, unwilling to allow their kids choices, not looking at their wants, needs, passion and abilities, and not willing to let go of those reigns of where the parents decide where their children should go, then nothing will change, then the kids will not connect with their parents and face a tough childhood, not to mention a tough life. Set your living environment up for the encouragement of failure instead of punishment, stress and fear. Smile when they fail and be happy for them. Encourage them that they can do it and be a stand for them, and celebrate when they achieve the slightest success. Let them be in charge of their life for a while and be happy with that. Let them experience the results of being lazy or choosing the easiest path and let them feel what they feel when they fail a test and smile when they do. Be understanding for their situation and then guide and influence them on how to improve, which structures you both agree on to follow but most of all: allow them to decide, allow them to follow their passion.

    Start changing yourself as a parent (and a teacher) and your children will be happier. Happiness leads to better performance, better performance leads to better results, better results lead to happier kids.
    Seek what it is that your kids love and help bring out that greatness in them and focus on that. And only on that!

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