6 (K-12) Strategies to Ease End-of-Semester Stress and Guarantee Success.

Asking the right questions will ensure your child has a stress-free year.
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Last Updated
April 22, 2019
posted on
November 26, 2019
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3
Minute Read

Parents, you’ve survived the first semester of school. You might be tempted at this time of year to coast until the holidays. I urge you, resist this temptation. By this time in the semester, your child is probably showing some patterns—good or bad—in the classroom and at home. Notice how he’s doing. Is he struggling? Is he enjoying it? Is he having consistent problems in the same subject?

This is a perfect time to tackle any issues your child is having at school to ensure the rest of the year goes smoothly. While each child is unique, I have noticed common problems with each age group. They are not permanent problems. They can be fixed, but you will have to notice them and be proactive.  

Kindergarten— 

Children in these grades are still adjusting to their new life at school. You may notice that they are fatigued, have a hard time concentrating or are irritable. This is normal and typically means your child is tired and needs extra rest. Pull back on the extracurricular activities and allow your child to have more downtime. 

1st Grade—

Since this is typically the year when students begin learning more complex subjects like reading and math, you might notice your child is struggling more at school. Talk to his teacher to make sure he isn’t behind. If he is, go ahead and get him tested for any learning disabilities. As long as he doesn’t test for reading issues, he will probably be fine and will catch up with the rest of the class soon. 

2nd, 3rd and 4th Grade—

These are the years when it’s tempting to overschedule your kids. They begin to show interest in sports and music and what their peers are doing. If you notice your child is acting irritable or anxious this time of year, it’s probably because she is doing too much. Dial down the activities. Most children can’t handle three nights or afternoons a week of extra-curricular. 

5th, 6th and 7th Grade—

These are tough years, as I’m sure you know. Kids are going through puberty, they feel anxious around the opposite sex, and their self-esteem is low. If you notice your child is struggling in school or socially, talk to him about it. Don’t talk to him about it right after school. He needs time to decompress. Talk to him when he has energy. Your child will need extra attention from you at this age. Resist the urge to disconnect no matter how different or difficult your child seems as he grows into a teen.

8th and 9th Grade—

These years receive a double whammy. Academics get harder and social media usage typically ramps up at this age. At this time, social circles have been defined, and if your child feels like she doesn’t belong to one, this will make everything more difficult. Pay attention to your child’s moods for a couple of weeks. If you notice anything is off, it could be due to social pressures, too much time on social media or academic troubles. Learning disabilities often surface during this time since academics become more rigorous. Get your child tested if you are concerned. 

10th, 11th and 12th Grade—

While at first your teen was excited to start school, reunite with friends and begin choir or sports practice again, by this time in the year that excitement as worn off. Academics are more difficult. They’re feeling extra pressure because they know more is expected from them during these years. 

Problems tend to arise in relationships, schoolwork, and stress over applying for college. See if your child seems to be anxious in any of these areas and talk to her about them. With college applications and schoolwork, time management could be a problem. Help her think through her schedule to make sure she isn’t too overbooked.

It’s easy to overlook what’s going on with your child at school, especially as your mind shifts to holiday preparations, but this time is critical. Pay attention, ask questions and get help if needed. The rest of the year will go much more smoothly if do. 

Dr. Meg Meeker, MD

Practicing pediatrician, parent, grandparent, coach, speaker, and author. Say hello @MegMeekerMD

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