There is definitely such a thing as school stress, but this should be distinguished from school phobia and post-traumatic stress secondary to an incident in school. These are different and may be mistaken for one another.

School stress comes from any kind of change a child feels he can’t cope with. For small kids, these can be manifested as “worries.”

School stress can manifest itself in different ways, depending on the child’s personality and temperament. Subtle cues include unhappiness, fatigue, inability to concentrate, and nervous habits like teeth grinding. In some cases, however, a child may experience withdrawal or overt violent behavior. Since children can show their stress in many ways, it’s up to you to pick up the cues early on and to do something about it.

When kids are stressed, parents get twice as worried. But the good news is that you can do something about it. Here are some ideas on how to help your child deal with school stress:

Want more parenting tips? These FN articles may be helpful:

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(First published in
Good Housekeeping Magazine, Parenting section as "The Weekday Blues" in June 2004; adapted for use in Female Network)

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