Adolescence can be a stressful time for tweens. Not only are they dealing with changes in their bodies and brains, but they’re also battling the pressures of school. There are also potential social pressures, such as bullying, peer pressure and the struggle to fit in. Talking openly with your tween about their feelings and experiences is one of the most effective ways to help them. But there are other things you can do to support them. Whether they are back in the classroom or you are still in lockdown, here are 6 creative ways to help your tween deal with school stress.
Give Them A Workspace
If your tween struggles to study or is stressed about homework, set up a dedicated space for them to do their work. Give them their own desk and let them decorate it with things that will make them feel comfortable and happy. Some tweens will prefer to have their own space, so this could be set up in their bedroom or in a spare room. More extroverted tweens might want to stay close to the rest of the family. In this case you could set up their desk in the living room or study if you have one. Encourage them to spend time here doing their homework and other activities like journaling or drawing.
Physical activity is a healthy and effective way to deal with stress. You could spend time together going for a walk or playing a doubles sport like tennis or badminton. Or they can get involved in a team sport like soccer or netball. This is a great way for your tween to make new friends and boost their confidence.
You could also go to the beach for a swim and kick off your shoes for a walk along the shore. Getting outside for fresh air and a change of scenery can be calming and provide a distraction from stress. Get the whole family involved as a way of bonding. This can help your tween feel supported and remind them that they don’t have to deal with their stress alone.
Helping your tween express their feelings creatively can go a long way in alleviating and understanding their stress. Try activities like journaling, poetry, music and painting. It’s important to remind them that they don’t have to create something “good”. Encourage them to enjoy the process rather than focus too much on the result. Creative outlets are an effective tool for your tween/teen to process their thoughts and emotions. It may also help them communicate thoughts that they would otherwise struggle to explain.
Teaching your tween time management habits can reduce their stress and prepare them for their journey into adulthood. You’ll need to know times and dates for any clubs or sports, homework deadlines and social events. Work with your tween to come up with a schedule that allows them to balance all these things.
Make sure to include enough time for fun and recreation and some “me time” too. This personal time is important as it provides your tween a break from school. It teaches them to prioritize their wellbeing and to give themselves the necessary time to relax. Encouraging them to manage and balance their responsibilities will help them feel less pressure and more in control.
Good nutrition is extremely important for anyone, but especially for a growing tween. They’re still developing, so a healthy and balanced diet is essential. Make sure they have a nourishing lunch prepared for school. Get them involved with cooking dinner as well. This is a great way for you to bond, and a fun activity to get their mind off any stress. Teaching them to cook can give them a sense of independence and confidence.
Set a Good Example
Tweens are at a formative age where they will pay attention to the behaviour of the adults around them. This is why it’s important as a parent to set a good example. Your child will struggle if you tell them to exercise or eat healthy but you aren’t doing that yourself. If they see you reacting negatively to stress, they’re likely to mimic this behaviour when dealing with their own stress.
It’s important to treat your tween with respect and sympathy. While you want to give them space and teach them independence, make sure they know they’re not alone. Having a support system is crucial to overcoming stress. Teaching them healthy ways to deal with their stress while they’re in these formative years will go a long way when they reach adulthood.