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Help Your High Schooler Stress Less This School Year

Tips For Helping Your Teen Cope With High School Pressures

As a parent, it's easy to get overwhelmed with the start of the new school year with all the doctors appointments, sports practices, and new routines. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), however, teens experience more stress than adults during the school year .

With the amount of stress caused by the pressures of academic performance, it's no surprise that more teens are suffering from depression and anxiety. Here are some ways you can help your teen cope with stress this school year.

Teach Time Management Skills

A hectic school schedule full of extracurriculars and college applications on top of an already heavy workload is likely to make your teen feel overwhelmed. Here are some tools to help your teen prioritize and manage their time better:

  • Use a daily planner to schedule time for homework and studying, extracurricular activities, and self-care.
  • Avoid procrastination and cramming for tests by doing a small portion every day.
  • Provide a workspace where your high schooler can study without distractions.
  • Start earlier in the day if possible when attention span is best.
  • Take frequent study breaks.
  • Don't over-schedule—consider their current workload before adding more responsibilities.

For more ideas on how to manage stress, read these additional tips for time management .

Promote a Healthy Lifestyle

It's easy to forget about physical health when life gets chaotic, but proper nourishment, adequate sleep and exercise are all necessary for your teen to succeed. Physical health can contribute to their mood, energy levels, and attention span, all of which correlate to academic performance.

Try to encourage getting plenty of sleep, healthy eating , and regular exercising consistently. Setting aside family meal times and promoting club sports are great ways to support your teen's health.

Encourage Self-Care

Most of a high schooler's life includes work, work, and more work, but reserving time away from academics for things like fun and self-care activities can help your teen relax.

Encourage things like joining after-school clubs, attending school events, or going to the movies with friends, which are all great activities for high schoolers to maintain that work/play balance. You might also consider suggesting self-care practices like daily meditation or reading for pleasure before bed to help them unwind after a stressful day.

Set Reasonable Expectations

Teenagers already have to face the academic, social and parental pressures of high school on a daily basis, let alone of their own personal goals and expectations they set for themselves. Whether it's getting accepted into their dream college or earning the highest SAT score, high schoolers are taught to be the best at everything.

You can help by reminding your teen of their successes and setting aside time to help them create reasonable goals for themselves. Also, it's important for them to hear—and believe—that you're proud of them and their accomplishments. Knowing that they don't need to “impress” you can instantly relieve some of that high school stress.

Stay Informed and Get Involved

Attend parent-teacher conferences, stay involved in your student's life in academia, and be aware of major deadlines and events to help keep your student on track. Take the initiative to learn how your teen is performing academically instead of relying on them to come to you for help. If they feel embarrassed or ashamed to be struggling in a class or having a low GPA, they may be less likely to ask for help. If your teen needs more support, connect them with resources like tutoring, counseling, or other school accommodations.

Also, it's always a good idea to look for warning signs that may indicate your student is struggling with a mental health issue that needs attention. Teen depression and anxiety have unfortunately become more common, so make sure they know you're there to offer your love and support.

Be a Good Role Model

Children and teens adopt behaviors they experience and witness around them, so it's important to model healthy behaviors and coping mechanisms that will help reduce stress. Whether it's practicing positive self-care, living a healthy lifestyle, or setting reasonable goals and expectations; following the same “rules” as your teen will help show them your support.

Our caring therapists are here to help. Contact us today!