How to Help Your Child Cope with Stress from School Exams and Standardized Tests

teen test examPreparing for school exams or standardized tests is part of every child’s educational experience.   Stress levels in children can elevate during this time as they become anxious about earning satisfactory scores.

High levels of stress can affect academic performance but it becomes a real concern for young students when it takes a toll on their health.  Kids may develop symptoms of stress such as sleeplessness, mental blocks or irregular eating habits.

There are several things parents can do to help alleviate test stress and anxiety:

  • Teach Calming Techniques such as taking deep breaths and muscle relaxation.
  • Help with test preparation; educate yourself about the subject so that you can provide assistance if this is not possible explore hiring a tutor or suggest a study group.
  • Practice Time Management by giving mock exams with time limits. This will bolster confidence and reduce panic on the day of the test.
  • Provide a Positive Environment by ensuring that their daily activities remain as routine as possible. This means normal bedtimes, meal times or hobbies.

While a certain amount of stress or anxiety may motivate some students to perform better for others it creates the opposite effect.  It is important for parents to observe how their child reacts to stressful situations and help them to cope. If your child displays symptoms of stress for an extended period of time, communicate with them and if the assistance of a mental health professional is needed, the school counselor or family doctor can be a good place to start.

Jamaica Hospital Medical Center’s Department of Psychiatry offers group therapy, individual therapy, medicine management, and other specialty groups to children, adolescents, and adults. For additional information, please call 718-206-5575.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Tips to Keep Teen Stress in Check

Teacher helping a trouble teenager

As you may imagine, school-related stress is rated the most common source of stress for American teens. This was discovered through The American Psychological Association’s (APA) Stress in America report. The Stress in American report found that American teens report stress levels higher than what they believe is healthy (5.8 on a 10-point scale, healthy level rated 3.9). Although teens reported significant stress, they appear to be poor judges of the impact stress can have on their health and mental health.

According to the APA Stress in America report, forty-two percent of teens indicated not doing anything to cope with their stress or not knowing what to do to manage it. Here are suggested tips from the APA on how to manage stress:

  1. Engage in physical activity.
  2. Do things that make you happy.
  3. Talk to someone.
  4. Get some sleep.

Parents would be surprised by the amount of stress and anxiety teens are dealing with involving social media. Teens are losing sleep worrying about tests, projects that are due, teams going to competitions, friendship dramas, and break ups. Parents can identity signs of stress and help their teen find a way to cope:

  • Help your teen monitor their schedule and activities.
  • Help teach your teen to identify the “stress signs.” These may include stomach pains, chest tightness, fast heartbeat, obsessive thoughts about being ready for things, and the inability to enjoy their day-to-day activities.
  • Practice what you preach. Parents should also limit their commitments and have more opportunities to talk with their children on a regular basis about school, friends and peer pressure.

 

If your teenager admits to being stressed, use the above tips to help manage stress. Jamaica Hospital’s Outpatient Mental Health Clinic offers special child and adolescent services. For more info, or to schedule an appointment, please call 718-206-5575.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.