42 per cent of Canadian parents say kids' stress is on the rise during
final days of summer
TORONTO, Aug. 29, 2011 /CNW/ - It's the last week before kids head
back-to-school, and student stress is on the rise. According to a
national Angus Reid survey, 42 per cent of parents have noticed their
kids' anxiety levels increasing during these final days, with kids from
British Columbia showing the highest levels (47%) of apprehension to
the least in Atlantic Canada (22%).
Parents who believe their kids are feeling anxious identified new
teachers (54%), a new schedule (48%) and being overwhelmed by homework
(40%) as the main triggers attributed to their kids' back-to-school
"Most people get nervous when they face change, so it's normal for many
kids to feel anxious about going back to school," said Dr. Stephen
Whiteside, Child Psychologist at the Mayo Clinic. "One of the most
helpful things you can do is reassure your children what they're
feeling is normal."
The survey found parents with anxious children are trying to help ease
their anxieties by getting back into a routine by getting up earlier
(58%), sharing experiences on what makes them feel anxious and how they
handle stressful situations (54%), and going for a visit to their
school or classroom before school begins (23%).
Canadian parents can supplement their stress-reducing strategies with
the following tips from Dr. Whiteside in order to make children more
comfortable with things which are causing nervousness.
Get a sense of what it is about school that makes them feel nervous. Are they concerned about making new friends? About new teachers? Are
they worried about the class work or about being overwhelmed by
homework? Being able to talk about those details and put the
nervousness into words can be helpful for a child who's feeling
Show love, support and warmth - it can go a long way. Parents can share experience they had when they were anxious about
facing something new and discuss how they handled the situation. Doing
this will let him know that he's not alone in the situation, that it's
okay to be nervous, and there are ways to get through it.
Encourage them to breathe a little more slowly and deeply. When they begin to feel anxious, this will help calm their nerves and
feel more in control of stomach aches.
Help them gradually get back into school routines. Make contact with school friends and arrange to spend time with some of
them before school begins. Talk to teachers and learn about what their
classes involve this new school year. Take them to their school
building and look around their classroom. Get them to practice their
locker combination. Start getting up a little earlier in the morning.
If anxiety persists, talk with your pediatrician or family doctor. If anxiety doesn't decrease after taking the following steps, find out
about seeing a professional who can help your child cope. Anxiety is a
normal part of life and can't be eliminated completely. However, there
are many successful strategies that can be very helpful in reducing
anxiety and making it less disruptive and more manageable.
Stats by region
The most stressed province is British Columbia at 47 per cent followed
by Manitoba and Saskatchewan (46%), Quebec (44%), Ontario (43%) Alberta
(36%) and Atlantic Canada (22%).
About the Survey
From August 25 to August 26, 2011, an online survey was conducted among
2,006 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum
panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is
+/- 2.14%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically
weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and
region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire
adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due
About Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a nonprofit worldwide leader in medical care, research
and education for people from all walks of life. For more information,
visit www.mayoclinic.org/canada, www.mayoclinic.com and www.mayoclinic.org/news.
SOURCE Mayo Clinic
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