Many children across the country are excitedly counting the days until summer break. They’ll be bidding adieu to homework and classes for the next 8-12 weeks as they travel, lounge around the house, or attend summer camp.
However, for some kids the last few weeks of school can be extremely stressful due to a number of factors that range from final class projects to concerns in leaving a beloved teacher. This can be a lot to handle for young minds and bodies, so it’s important for children to learn how to deal with school stress at the end of the year.
Why is the End of the School Year Stressful for Kids?
It’s easy to assume that things wind down the closer it gets to the end of the school year, but that’s actually far from the truth. For most schools, the months of May and June are jam-packed with activities that include field trips, dances, sports, class projects, celebrations, exams—and for older students, graduation. Multiple events and activities in rapid succession can eventually overwhelm and stress a child.
Report cards are another factor of children’s stress near the end of the year. Kids can experience negative (and sometimes physically abusive)repercussions from less-than-stellar grades at any time during the year. However, some children may be concerned that their angry or disappointed parents will limit or even remove, certain summer activities as punishment.
Children may also worry about how summer break may impair the friendships and attachments they’ve forged during the year. For example, they may fear that they won’t see their friends for a long time. Or they may be upset they’ll no longer see their favorite teacher. Those moving to a different campus (e.g. graduating to middle school) may not like the thought of their leaving younger friends behind.
Busy, frazzled parents may unintentionally pass their own stress down to their children. It’s well known that kids learn by watching their parents, but unfortunately this means that they also notice when a parent is highly stressed. So yes, they can tell you’re worried while preparing for a family trip, selecting a summer camp, or juggling the many playdates, beach days, and other upcoming summer outings.
Tips for Managing End-of-Year Stress
Stress is a normal part of life, even for children. Although there’s nothing wrong with mild occasional stressors, it’s important to minimize as much of it as possible, lest it gets out of hand. Here are some tips to help your child manage their stress near the end of the year, and enjoy a fun and relaxing summer.
- Mark all important dates on your calendar, so your family has time to prepare and there are no surprises.
- Encourage your child to take time each day to unwind with something they enjoy: video games, sports, playing outside, etc.
- Alternatively, suggest some calming exercises such as yoga or meditation—or quiet, solo activities like reading and drawing.
- While the daily routine may change a bit during summer break, try to stick to the regular schedule as much as possible. For example, your child may not need to get up as early since they’ll be going to summer camp but keep the evening timetable the same.
- Make sure your child continues to get a good night’s sleep. A tired brain leads to lack of concentration and thus, increased stress.
- Limiting screen time can alleviate your child’s stress from the need to constantly check their social media accounts or texts. A strong parental control solution like Hub by Securly allows parents to monitor their child’s digital device and pause internet access, thus curbing that stressful source.
- Arrange playdates with your child’s friends during the summer so they can stay in touch with them.
- If your child is upset at the thought of leaving a favorite teacher, help them create a special goodbye card and/or present.
- Ease your child’s stress about report cards by responding to poor grades in a positive, supportive manner.
- Try to manage your own stress so that your child doesn’t pick up on it.