The holiday season is typically associated with smiles, giving, and spending time with family. However, the holiday’s can be a stressful time for many people, and for various reasons. In fact, studies show that 62 percent of Americans say their stress levels elevate during the holidays. Students are no exception, and many student’s grades tend to suffer during this joyful time.
So, what causes this elevated stress in students during this time of year, and how does that translate to their performance and grades? Let’s take a look at some of the causes and effect of this stress so that you can help your child or students have a better time during the holidays.
What Causes Holiday Stress?
Before we can discover why holiday anxiety might affect a student’s grades, it is important to understand why holiday stress might exist. While the holidays are synonymous with spirit and joy, it is not that way for everyone. Many people dread the holiday season for many reasons including:
- Financial problems and instability
- Strained family relationships
- Feeling the need to please others
- Having to fit more activities into an already busy schedule
Many families in America live at or below the poverty line, 12.3 percent of the population to be exact, which can really put a damper on the season of gifts and giving. This is especially true for children. Many students also come from broken homes, which makes the sentiment of spending time with family and loved ones anxiety-inducing.
How Does Holiday Anxiety Affect a Student’s Grades?
It goes without saying that elevated levels of stress can cause anyone to underperform in tasks. Especially when those tasks are already challenging on their own.
If a student is worrying about a holiday event coming up that they don’t want to go to, or they are being surrounded by happiness and joy that they are missing out on, they may not be able to focus in school.
When students are left to worry about whether they will get dinner that night or if they will be able to stay warm, it is hard to keep schoolwork a priority.
How Can We Improve This Situation?
Whether you are a parent or a teacher concerned about a child’s grades dropping, there are things you can do to help.
If you are a teacher and you notice that some of your students are struggling to keep up during this time of year, try going easier on some of the assignments. Maybe even consider giving fewer homework assignments. Evidence has actually shown that while homework can be good, it can also be impeding in excess.
Here are a few tips for helping your child/student get through their holiday stress:
- Acknowledge that their stress is legitimate
- Minimize your own visible stress
- Spend a little more time helping them out with lessons and concepts that they are struggling with
- Make sure their diet is healthy, even if it is limited
- Talk to them about how they are feeling and try and help them find a solution to their troubles
Making sure that the child is getting all that they need can seem out of reach, especially those living in poverty. If this is the situation, consider reaching out for help. There are tons of resources for helping families in need, particularly during the holidays.
However, sometimes all that it will take is a little bit of extra time and effort to turn around a student’s grades and overall levels of stress. Check out our website to find even more resources and information about your child and their mental well being. Happy holidays!