Is Your Child Stressing About Grades? – Here’s How to Help

Silhouette of crying little girl.

Stressing about grades is a normal experience for school-aged children. After all, children learn early on that it is important to get good grades in school. Furthermore, they may face pressure to excel at standardized tests and prepare to get into the right future schools.

Although education is important, excessive stress about grades can be unhealthy. As a parent, you want to encourage your child to get good grades. However, you also want to teach them a healthy balance. You don’t want them to get sick from the stress.

Learn to Recognize Anxiety in Children

As mentioned, stressing about grades is common. However, children can go overboard and develop anxiety. It is helpful for you to know if you’re dealing with anxiety or regular stress.

Here are some signs of anxiety in children:

  • Tantrums and meltdowns, especially in school or when doing homework
  • Feelings of inadequacy and shame when making a homework mistake
  • Inability to tolerate anything less than perfection
  • Procrastination and avoidance of homework, often linked to a feeling of imperfection
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Restlessness, fidgeting, and an inability to concentrate
  • Stomachaches, headaches, and back pain

For example, it’s normal for a child to worry about an upcoming test. However, if the child can’t sleep all night, feels that they failed if they missed one answer, or acts out instead of studying then their anxiety is too high.

7 Ways to Help When a Child Is Stressing About Grades

Luckily, there are many things that you as a parent can do to help reduce anxiety for children. Moreover, you can specifically help them when they’re stressing about grades.

Here are seven things to try:

1. Take the Focus Off of Grades

Of course, you want your child to get good grades. However, if you’re focused on it, then how will your child stop stressing about grades? Take the focus off of their grades for a while. Emphasize the pure joy of learning.

2. Demonstrate Deep Breathing Techniques

Taking slow, deep breaths helps ease anxiety. Teach your child how to do this. Practice with them. Show them that they can self-soothe in this way. This is something that helps during any time of stress, so it is useful whether or not your child has anxiety.

3. Create a Study Routine

The more routine in a child’s day, the less room that there is for anxiety. Create a study routine that is time-limited. Include soothing breaks and positive before-and-after activities.

4. Read Stories Together About Overcoming Challenges

Find and share examples of people who succeed despite challenges. In particular, look for stories about people who did well in their lives despite challenges in school. There are many examples of famous people who failed or dropped out and still had great lives.

5. Encourage Your Child’s Interests

Help your child find different hobbies, activities, and interests to pursue. This is a distraction from school. Plus, if a child does well in one area, then they might feel less pressure in another.

6. Allow for Unstructured Time

On one hand, scheduling hobbies and having a routine are both important. On the other hand, kids also need unstructured downtime. Allow kids to choose from several quiet activities to recharge their batteries each day.

7. Talk with Your Child Daily

Set aside fifteen minutes each day to talk one-on-one with your child. Let them do the talking. Just listen and be supportive. Over time, this will help your child open up about bigger issues. Then, when stressing about grades gets too overwhelming, they will be able to come to you.

Parenting is challenging, particularly when it comes to helping children with their educational issues. Learn about our child counseling practice in San Diego.