- Posted by Jon Harju
- On October 15, 2019
With the pressures of midterm exams, competing projects, extracurricular activities, volunteer commitments and university or college applications — student burnout is fast becoming a common experience shared by children and teens today.
With the constant demands to do better, set higher goals, and achieve greater success, burnout occurs when students work long hours for extended periods of time. They begin to lose control over their situation and start to lack the energy, passion, and reason to continue in their studies.
How to tell if your child or teen is facing burnout
Unlike a cold, burnout signs and symptoms don’t hit you all at once and can be tricky to spot.
Here are five signs that may indicate your kid is experiencing burnout.
- Spend less time with friends or family
Burnout can cause stress, anxiety, and depression, which can lead to your child wanting to retreat and isolate themselves. Parents should be watchful for kids who say they’re too busy or tired to spend time with people they normally have fun with.
- Fall asleep in class or early at home
When kids start to regularly fall asleep at their desks or on the couch after school, it could be a sign they’re overworking and overtired – leading to them to lose interest in learning.
- Drop their extra-curricular activities
With the intense feelings of pressure to succeed academically, they may try to manage exhaustion and burnout by dropping their other activities such as clubs or sports. However, exercise and recreational activities are vital for maintaining good mental health.
- Grades suffer
Students can feel the strain with difficult subjects, challenging workloads, family life stress, or even their own high expectations for success. One common sign of burnout in all ages is a drop in grades, especially in the mid-to-end point of the year.
- Sick more often
Stress and burnout can compromise a child’s immune system. Parents should consider investigating further if their kid struggles to recover from a bout of typical seasonal sickness as burnout could be the culprit.
How can I support my child?
It’s essential that parents remain active and talk to their kids and teens to help them understand what the real issues are. If burnout is to blame, parents can:
- Help kids create challenging but realistic goals
- Help kids identify where they can lighten their schedule and reduce workloads to create a healthy schedule that includes stress-relieving opportunities and fun activities
- Be a good role model for self-care and moderation in all things—even studying and working.
- Encourage them to prioritize essential time to recharge and socialize
- Voice realistic and positive expectations that encourage kids to succeed without pushing them towards unhealthy habits
- Let kids know that failure is also a healthy part of life and provides opportunities for learning and growth. Help them reframe the meaning of success i.e. retaking a test, or completing a project.
Preventing your child’s burnout
Stress may be unavoidable, but burnout is preventable. Help your child or teen tackle burnout to build a sense of security, develop resilience and learn the coping mechanisms that lead to achieve greater happiness and conquer future obstacles in life.
Download Snapclarity to complete your free mental health check-up.