School Stress: How To Help Students in Foster CareJordan
Stress is a major problem for our society, hovering over our workplaces, homes, and even schools. A 2015 NYU study found that “nearly half (49%) of all [high school] students reported feeling a great deal of stress on a daily basis.” We break down what school stress can look like, how it can create extra stress for students in foster care, and—crucially—how to help students cope with stress.
What Is School Stress?
School stress is the emotional, mental, and physical strain experienced by students due to the various demands and challenges they face in their academic life. This stress can stem from a range of factors, such as:
- Academic workload
- Pressure to achieve good grades
- Social interactions
- Personal issues
When not addressed properly, school stress can lead to negative consequences like decreased motivation, poor academic performance, anxiety, and depression. It’s important to recognize and address school stress to support students’ overall well-being and help them reach their full potential.
How To Relieve Stress From School: Supporting Foster Students
Foster students often experience a higher level of stress than their peers due to the unique challenges and uncertainties that arise from their living situations. Frequent changes in caregivers, homes, and schools can lead to feelings of instability, making it difficult for these students to form lasting relationships and achieve a sense of belonging.
In addition, they may experience trauma from past experiences or struggle with trust and attachment issues. These factors, combined with typical school stressors, can exacerbate stress levels for foster students, making it vital to provide targeted support and resources to help them cope and thrive. Some ways to help kids manage stress include:
- Providing a supportive environment where students feel comfortable discussing their feelings and challenges
- Tailor learning plans to meet the unique needs of each student, taking into consideration their personal circumstances and academic progress
- Ensuring that students in foster care have access to mental health services, including counseling and therapy
- Pairing students with mentors who can provide guidance, support, and encouragement
- Incorporating stress relief activities—such as mindfulness exercises, yoga, and art therapy—into the school routine to help students relax and focus
- Allowing for flexible scheduling to accommodate appointments, court dates, and other events related to foster care circumstances
Education and Foster Care: A Critical Connection
Reducing and managing school stress can help students in foster care achieve greater academic success. That success, in turn, can provide a sense of stability and accomplishment for foster students, helping to boost their self-esteem and mental health. Understanding the impact of school stress on foster students’ lives is essential for providing the support and resources they need to succeed.
For Others advocates for kids in foster care around the nation. We’re a collective of change-makers working together to address the crisis plaguing our nation’s most vulnerable. Join us in the fight to solve the foster care crisis and help restore lives.