Stress Management for K-12 Students


Sometimes, it’s easy to forget the tribulations of adolescence, but kids get stressed too. Stress can be a motivation-killer, and many students experience it without recognizing the symptoms. Stressors wreak havoc on our day-to-day lives and learning to manage them sets us up for success and happiness.

It’s important for students to get a handle on stress before it gets a handle on them. Teach your student to make an effort to reduce stress by learning valuable coping mechanisms for when times are tough.

Signs and symptoms of stress

Stress can cause difficulty in concentrating along with general anxiety, irritability, and fatigue. These symptoms often lead to trouble sleeping, isolation, procrastination, and nervous habits. Recognizing these symptoms means identifying a problem–one your student will need to address.

Physical responses to stress

People often consider stress to manifest as a mental issue, but these physical symptoms take a toll on the body and often create problems in daily life. Stress reduction is important for your student's health.

Stress can cause increased heart rate and blood pressure, quick and shallow breathing, tightening muscles, sweating, nausea, cold or clammy hands and feet, and more. Going through these symptoms on a daily basis can affect schoolwork, attitude, and general happiness.

Sources of stress

Identifying the source—or sources—of stress is important to addressing it. Students often stress about school, issues in their personal relationships, living environments, relocation, and much more.

A common cause of stress is overworking or having unrealistic expectations and goals; it’s important to take the time for mental health and address stress as it arises. Make sure your student knows to be gentle with themselves and to take time in their everyday life to assess their mental state.

Managing stress

Encourage your student to take time to address and manage stress. Writing out a plan, dividing and conquering work, staying organized, and taking time to relax are all important factors in alleviating and preventing stress. Sometimes stressors can be alleviated through lifestyle change. Your child should take time to focus on health and creating a stress-free environment. Help them develop a support system they can fall back on when times seem a little tougher.

Help your students build stress relief

Take some time to figure out what works best for your student. Not every tactic fits every lifestyle. Encourage your students to ask themselves these questions to discover their ideal stress relief. 

  • What do you like to do when you are feeling stressed?
  • What helps you relax?
  • What activities are stressors in your life?
  • What are your favorite activities?
  • What are some things that make you happy?
  • What quick things make you feel better?

Once you’ve pinpointed activities and things to alleviate stress, consider how your plan is working and how it can improve. Maybe all your student needs is more exercise or time with hobbies like painting or learning an instrument. In some cases, outside sources like therapy can be the best answer. What’s important is that your student creates and follows a game plan, and takes time to reflect and gauge their progress.

By organizing their thoughts and finding the reasons behind stress and the ways they can personally reduce it, students are equipped to find success throughout their lives. Stress doesn’t disappear forever; it’s something we learn to maintain. Teach your student(s) these important life skills, and watch them flourish in school and beyond.