Childhood is considered the happiest part of life, as it is supposed to be free of responsibilities and pressures. But, is it really so?
By Arun Sharma
“Be aware of wonder. Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.” — Robert Fulghum
A study titled, ‘School stress in India: Effects on time and daily emotions,’ by Suman Verma et al was published in SAGE Journals. The study says, ‘Schoolwork generated negative subjective states as reflected in low affect state, below-average activation levels, lower feeling of choice, and higher social anxiety. These negative states were most frequent during homework. The trade-off faced by Indian adolescents were evident in the findings that those who spent more time doing homework experienced lower average emotional states and more internalising problems, while those who spent more time in leisure experienced more favourable states but also reported higher academic anxiety and lower scholastic achievement.’
It is time to reverse this process and guide our children towards a healthier and less stressful life. By teaching your child the following techniques, you can help him restore study–life balance.
1. Time management: Managing time is the key to success in every sphere of life. Teaching your child time management skills can help him understand and concentrate on what is most important. Making a daily/weekly to-do list, setting goals and deadlines for school projects, prioritising work, breaking large tasks into smaller components are all parts of time management skills.
2. Stress management: While the absence of stress can keep your child focussed on what she should do, an increase in stress can lead to several problems. Therefore, it is important to understand signs of stress overload in children. Some of them are irritability, moodiness and anxiety, sleep-related problems, and health complaints such as headache and stomach ache. If you find your child showing such symptoms, introduce her to ways to relieve stress like meditation, breathing exercises, positive self-talk or talking to a friend.
3. Realistic aspirations: Sometimes, a child may set unrealistically high goals of excellence for himself. Such an attitude can be harmful. Perfectionism can lead to low self-esteem, guilt, depression, obsessive-compulsive behaviour and much more. Tell your child that he can be a high achiever without being a perfectionist. Teach him to set standards that are high but achievable. Also, let him react positively to feedback, monitor negative and positive thoughts and, most importantly, enjoy the learning process and not just the results.
4. Healthy lifestyle: A healthy lifestyle plays a very important role in keeping the mind and body healthy, and thus achieving success. Help your child draw up a wellness plan by teaching her to exercise and sleep regularly, eat healthy, and set aside time for friends and family.
Teaching your child ways to integrate school and personal life can go a long way in helping her feel that ‘childhood is the best part of her life’.
Related video: Venkata Suresh Lolla, Principal, Global City International School talks about why schools should encourage fun-based learning.
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