Rising Stress Levels in Students, & What You Can Do About It

11/10/2021

Rising stress levels in students have been yet another side effect of COVID-19.  Threats to their own and their family’s health, school closures, online learning, social distancing, mask-wearing, and near-constant hand sanitization procedures, it’s no wonder students are suffering from a collective mental health crisis.  And this isn’t limited to primary, secondary, and college students in Malaysia – this is a global trend.

In Alberta, Canada, 12 to 18 years olds returned to school in the fall of 2020 and were given an online survey that asked about their perceptions and experiences of COVID-19.  Student stress levels were above the critical thresholds for 25% of the sample.  Females of all ages and older adolescents (aged 15-18 years old) reported higher stress indicators as compared to males and younger adolescents.

Additionally, a trio of new studies describes the effects of COVID-19 on American public school students.  A quarter of children and teens in Chicago schools were stressed after school closures and with the implementation of distance learning.

The first study, led by researchers from Children’s Hospital of Chicago and published yesterday in JAMA Network Open, consisted of an anonymous survey of 32,217 caregivers of Chicago public school students 3 or 4 months after the COVID-19 pandemic forced school closures and the implementation of online learning.

Surveyed from Jun 24 to Jul 15, 2020, caregivers rated the mental health of more than 40,000 students in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. After school closures, caregiver concerns about student loneliness grew more than eightfold (3.6% vs 31.9%).  From 12.8% to 30.2% of students were characterized as angry, anxious, depressed, lonely, or stressed after school closures, when they had not been before.

Simultaneously, caregivers’ reports of positive adjustment fell 13.4% in terms of plans for the future and dropped another 13.6% in terms of positive peer relationships.

 

How to Curb Your Child’s Stress Levels

Children may feel nervous or reluctant to return to school, especially if they’ve been at home for months – or years!  The last thing any parent wants is for their child, whether they’re in kindie, preschool, playschool, primary or secondary school, to feel stressed out.

 

Symptoms of Stress

If your child exhibits any of the following stress symptoms, you may want to take them to see their doctor:

  1. aches and pains

  2. exhaustion or trouble sleeping

  3. headaches, giddiness or shaking

  4. high blood pressure

  5. stomach pain or digestive problems

  6. muscle tension or jaw clenching

  7. anxiety or irritability

  8. depression

  9. panic attacks

  10. sadness

  11. sudden weight gain or loss.

 

Luckily, there are many things you can do to help curb your child’s stress levels before going back to school, or if they are already back in school.

 

  1. Relaxation techniques.

Working with your child on relaxing via meditation, yoga, tai chi, and/or muscle relaxation can go a long way.  Making it a family affair is a bonus!  You can find many such techniques and guided meditations online or via YouTube.

 

  1. Healthy eating.

Eating foods that are bio-available, or from nature, can help set things right.  Avoid processed foods like pasta, frozen pizzas, and lunch meats while eating more rice, grilled chicken or fish, fresh and cooked vegetables and the like.

 

  1. Practice gratitude daily.

Take ten minutes at the end of every day, or over dinner with your family, to talk about all the things you are grateful for.  In fact, have everyone in your home do it together as another family activity!  Not only are you shifting your mental viewpoint to one that is more positive, but you are spending more quality time with your family while simultaneously reducing stress!

 

  1. Stay connected with friends, family, and loved ones.

Encourage your student to stay connected.  Set up facetime dates with their friends or other family members you’ve had to socially distance from.  If your child has a cousin he/she plays with more, set up regular times for them to facetime.  A simple phone call can go a long way.

 

  1. Exercise daily.

Even 15 minutes a day can help boost endorphins within the body.  Make it a point to go for a daily walk, do some jumping jacks in the home, stretch etc.  You can even hop on youtube and see some of the workouts that are listed!  Some of them can be pretty silly (which is especially good for younger children).

In summary, the mental health state of students the world over have seen a drastic decline.  It is time we curb the stress our children feel by supporting them through this difficult time.  Where Malaysian parents were once worried that their child wasn’t at the top of their class, now they are worried about some behaviours their children are exhibiting.

 

Behaviours Stressed Out Kids Exhibit

Seeing signs of stress in kids varies from person to person.  Some kids have more mood swings or act out, while others experience changes in their sleeping patterns or bedwetting.  Your kid may pick up new habits such as thumb-sucking, hair twirling, lying, bullying, or general defiance.  Note your child’s academic performance.  When a child is stressed it can affect their ability to focus.

In summary, Little Human Scholars preschool in PJ is well aware of the mental effects COVID-19 has had on our students.  We have regular training and educational segments with our teachers to keep them informed and to help calm and relax our children and students during this uncertain time.

 

About Little Human Scholars Preschool in PJ

Little Human Scholars is an all-in-one childcare solution.  It is a preschool, playschool, kindergarten, nursery and full-day daycare centre (with extended hours) located in the heart of PJ.

 

In fact, the location is one of the things which makes Little Human Scholars so sought after – it is conveniently nestled near Jalan Gasing, University hospital, PJ Old town, PJ New town, Jaya One, Jaya33, and the PJ IT Mall.

 

The best part is LHS preschool in PJ has premiere services many other schools in PJ don’t offer such as full-day daycare with extended hours, CCTV access for parents, and a nifty little phone app that provides parents with automatic updates on their child’s development, behaviour and health checks.

 

With full-time guards always present at each of their locations, access to CCTV (which is in every room except the office, bathroom and kitchen areas), and very strict pick-up and drop-off rules, Little Human Scholars preschool treats every child who walks into its hallways as one of their own children!

 

This place has it all:  location, safety, health, IGSCE curriculum and play-based learning.  What more could you ask for?  Did I mention they also have transportation services and offer meal plans for students?  It doesn’t get any better than that.

 

If you are interested in a tour of one of our centres (that’s right, there’s more than one), all you need to do is fill out the form here or call +6017-7303-025 and an LHS administrative staff will get back with you shortly!

 

Cheers,

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