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Our younger daughter has always been super easygoing. She makes friends easily and is quick to laugh. Lately though, we’ve seen her positive attitude slip away. She’s become one of those kids who literally counts the days until the last day of school. She’s complaining about headaches and classmates, and she’d really rather stay home. The stress of end-of-the year projects and looming state tests is really getting to her.

Here are some ways we’re trying to help her manage her stress and keep it together for these last few weeks of school. Maybe an idea in here can help your family too!

1. We’re doing everything the school recommends: making sure she goes to bed on time and that she eats a good breakfast. That’s the easy part! It’s helping her clear and calm her head that is more difficult.

2. We’re talking about time management. My daughter has many, many mastery sheets she has to finish before June 1. We’re helping her figure out how many sheets a day she needs to get done. This is helping her plan out her work and subsequently realize she has more time than she thinks she does. PBS Kids has a good resource about time management called You Vs. The Clock (opens in a new window). As part of it, kids think through Have-To’s, Want-To’s, and Goals (opens in a new window).

3. We’re trying to help her keep it all in perspective. We’ve been reminding her that she’s a good student and that this test is only one measure of her progress. We’re downplaying the whole “it’s on everything you’ve learned so far in elementary school” sentiment that can be heard. Helping Kids Manage Worry (opens in a new window) has several good recommendations for helping kids conquer some of their concerns.

4. We’re going outside. An hour or so of outside time after dinner does wonders to clear her head and help her relax.

This will all be over soon (17 more days, as E told me this morning) but some of these lessons we’ll take with us into next year. Here are a few other resources on this topic that may be helpful:

About the Author

Along with her background as a professor, researcher, writer, and teacher, Joanne Meier is a mom. Join Joanne as she shares her experiences raising her own young readers, and guides parents and teachers on the best practices in reading.

Publication Date
May 16, 2012