Feeling stressed is common in a fast-paced country like Singapore. Children experience it as well, due to the fact that they are put in so much pressure to do well in exams and often have weekly schedules peppered with primary school tuition or enrichment classes. This feeling is inevitable, and as a parent, you can only do so much to help them.
The only thing you can do (and is truly necessary) is to impart to them techniques to manage stress and anxiety. This will be especially useful for them when they become adults.
Here are some ideas to help your child cope with stress.
1. Teach Them Quick Relaxation Techniques
This is necessary for when your child finds himself alone and in an anxious state, like in an exam hall. You can teach them relaxation techniques that help them relax in the moment. Sometimes, doing something simple like breathing exercises will help them reduce stress and anxiety.
With your child, practise taking a slow deep breath in to the count of 4, and taking a slow deep breath out to the count of 4. It will especially help if they close their eyes (to reduce distractions) and imagine that they’re inhaling all the good things in, and exhaling the bad ones out.
You can also teach them to imagine that they are in their favourite place — ask them about the sounds, smells, and sensations of that place. Teaching exercises such as these will surely get them through stressful situations.
2. Manage Your Own Anxiety
Have you ever wondered why young children would look up to their parents right after they trip and fall? And when a parent looks concerned, the child immediately cries. This is because the child looks to the parent for a signal of how to react in that certain situation.
The same idea still stands true for your children in primary school. Your child can pick up your emotional cues and mirror them. So if you’re showing that you’re anxious, your child’s anxiety level may increase as well.
Hence, when helping to reduce your child’s anxiety, stay calm and collected. This means ensuring that your facial expression down to your body language is put together, showing no signs of worry or stress yourself.
If it helps, you may want to practise deep breathing exercises yourself.
3. Re-evaluate Your Child’s Schedule
Your child may be stressed due to their overwhelming schedule — juggling school, enrichment classes, after-school activities, and doing assignments can be overwhelming for a primary school student.
For starters, try to have a look at their schedule, and go over it with your child. Ask them how they’re feeling about their schedule, and if there’s an activity they enjoy less or would like to stop doing. If they feel overwhelmed, it’s probably best if you cut off one or two activities in your child’s schedule to make space for downtime and rest.
When a child is given enough time to relax and play, they will then feel rejuvenated, eventually reducing stress.
4. Encourage Your Child To Speak About It and Listen Intently
Sometimes, saying “you’re fine” to a child when they complain about having a hard time will only cause more harm than good in the long run. This may even make your child believe that you aren’t listening to them, or care about how they are feeling.
Instead, validate them.
Discuss about their feelings and worries. Ask questions like “what are you worried about?” or “and then what happened?” while they tell you the whole story. Remember to show interest, patience, care, and openness. It’s important to let your child know that you care enough to listen to them.
If your child finds it hard to open up, that’s okay. You can encourage them to open up by starting a journal that’s just between the two of you. Your child can write down and discuss what’s bothering them. And when the time comes that they’re finally ready to talk, receive them with arms wide open.
5. Prioritise Sleep
Getting proper sleep is key to minimising stress, boosting mood, and even improving school performance. Therefore, it might be a problem if your child doesn’t get enough sleep. So it’s essential to let your child know the importance of sleep.
Set a bedtime for your child and follow it strictly, even on weekends. It would also help if you create an environment that facilitates sleep. So be sure to keep TV, iPads, mobile phones, and any gadgets are out of their room.
6. Interactive and Fun Programmes to Make Studying an Enjoyable Experience
Your child shouldn’t have to associate learning with exams and being stressed about performing well all the time. There are other ways to make learning a fun experience and activity, instead of a taxing one.
PAL Learning offers programmes that challenge children to think critically, while encouraging a fun learning environment. Learning materials include Augmented Reality which makes English, Math and Science enrichment programmes entertaining and interactive for children!
You can even monitor how your child is progressing, or if there’s something they’re worried about as these primary school tuition lessons are conducted from the comforts of your own home!
Find more about our exciting enrichment programmes and contact us today.