Summer is coming to an end and parents and students are preparing to return to homework, tests, and extracurricular activities. Some kids will be learning from home at least part time, changing schools, or going off to college. In an already stressful time, going back to school can add to the tension.
There are challenges, of course. But there are also tools and resources available to help better manage or even prevent those challenges from arising. While everyone has their own unique experience, there are some common themes. Stress and anxiety are two of the most common underlying causes of academic struggles.
Stress is the body’s reaction to a challenge. When you’re faced with a challenge or a deadline, the right kind of stress can sharpen your mind and reflexes. It can help the body perform better, or help you escape a dangerous situation.
Stress is important for survival, but too much stress can be harmful. Emotional stress that lasts for weeks or months can weaken the immune system, cause high blood pressure, fatigue, depression, anxiety, and even heart disease.
These are some of the signs that your body is struggling with too much stress and it’s time to start doing things differently:
Difficulty concentrating or completing tasks
Getting sick more often
Flare ups of Autoimmune diseases
Trouble falling sleeping or staying awake
Changes in appetite
More angry or anxious than usual
It’s not an official type of stress, but the stress experienced by children and adults attending school has some unique qualities.
All kids, and even some adults, can have trouble focusing their attention from time to time. Giving students time and space to process new information can help them to adjust more easily. Allow for a little extra time to get ready for school, to complete homework assignments, and anything else that requires their attention until they slide back into the academic routine.
Not Understanding the Material
What might look like a lack of concentration could actually be a lack of understanding the material. Not understanding their school assignments can lead to not paying attention and falling further behind. Encourage your student to attend homework clubs and to ask for help and clarification when needed.
Lack of Practice
Even when kids return to the same school, the change in daily routine is enough to pull their attention away from learning and can make retaining new information more difficult. Study habits and routines may need to be rebuilt after long breaks from school.
Before the school year starts, re-establish school routines. Get back in the habit of going to bed on time and getting up early. Set up a homework space and decide on an after school routine. Review the school materials and information so that you can all feel prepared and know what to expect.
Anxiety about school, grades, and peers can lead to difficulty in the classroom. Students who are overwhelmed or stressed might simply “check out.” This can lead to dropping grades and lowered self-confidence.
Hypnosis can be used to change the way your brain cells interact with each other using neuroplasticity (the capacity of the nervous system to develop new neuronal connections) to teach your body and mind to respond to stress by relaxing instead of feeling more stress. Hypnosis is also used to release whatever was blocking you from changing, and to create new habits, patterns, and behaviors that are more beneficial. Square Breathing using the Abdominal Breath is a great example of this type of hypnotic technique.
There are many hypnotic techniques that are used outside of a formal hypnotic trance that quickly reduce anxiety and feelings of stress. Gentle pressure on the shoulder, a series of deep breaths, the use of an anchor or trigger that reminds us of a calm state are all ways that anxiety and stress can be reduced or eliminated in the moment.
You should always seek out professional advice any time you have a concern or if your child is having persistent problems in the classroom such as constant disruptions, distractions, or poor grades.
See the links below to learn the daily breathing exercises that can help students (and adults) reduce episodes of anxiety, and for a 15 minute hypnosis program that is great for reducing stress in kids and adults.∎
Karen Gray is a Certified Professional Hypnotist, a Certified Hypnosis Instructor, a Registered Nurse, and the Director of Green Mountain Hypnosis. For more information on how you can use hypnosis to change your life, contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (802) 566-0464.