Survey shows students are stressed out

Help your child find a way to de-stress

Today's students experience a greater level of stress than students a decade ago, according to a teacher survey released by Sylvan Learning Center, the nation's leading provider of supplemental assistance for children in grades pre-K through 12.

The vast majority of teachers surveyed informally (84 percent) think that students today are more stressed than their predecessors. When it comes to stress levels throughout the school year, teachers most frequently cited spring as the season of stress. It's no surprise that spring has become synonymous with stress due to end-of-year assessments, projects, extracurricular activities, sports and, for high school students, college admissions.

The many stressors of the final months of school can lead to frustration and hinder academic achievement for some students. However, parents can help their children reduce spring anxiety and achieve a balanced, healthy and academically successful year.

"As stress builds for students during the second half of the school year, the best release to this 'academic pressure cooker' may also be the most simple: time!" says Richard E. Bavaria, Ph.D., vice president of education for Sylvan Learning Center. "Through effective time management and other strategies, students can create 'found time' and find themselves better prepared for all of the activities and challenges that come along with the final months of the school year."

As a leap year, 2008 offers an extra 24 hours - some of which will be spent in the classroom by students. Inside and outside of the classroom, there are many ways that students can manage their workload and create time for stress-reducing activities at home. The education experts at Sylvan Learning Center have created the following tips to create "found time" and achieve academic success this spring.

• Spring cleaning: Organization - both at home and at school - will save students time by eliminating the need to search for homework assignments, books and other items necessary for spring success. Create a "homework zone" that houses study tools and allows students to study without distraction.

• Spring check-up: Stay informed about the end-of-school activities for which your child will be responsible. Encourage students to use planners to create timelines or place a large calendar with deadlines and test dates in a visible area of the house.

• Spring in your step: Exercise is a great way to alleviate stress and stimulate the mind. Taking short exercise breaks between assignments can refresh a student's energy level and renew focus.

• Spring break: Compressing study time into one all-nighter may seem like a good way to save time, but the brain is less efficient without a "sleep break," and a student's memory can be affected. A better alternative is to ensure your child obtains the recommended amount of sleep by spreading study efforts out over a period of time.

• Spring forward: Use your family's "found time" to celebrate spring successes! Show your child that you are confident in her academic abilities and reward the little things - improved concentration while studying or proactively organizing her homework space.