Every autumn, children across the country are performing the back-to-school rituals that have been performed for decades. They pack overloaded backpacks with pencils, books, and about hundred other things and hunch their shoulders to carry the heavy load. These students worry about getting into the advance placement classes, whether the extra Spanish sessions in the summer paid off to keep them ahead of the curve, or if their parents made the right connections to make sure they got into the best class in the best school. And no, these aren’t college kids, or highschoolers ... they are kindergartners!
Every year stressed-out students are getting younger and younger so now even the youngest students are sweating the small stuff come school time. In an August, 2011 article, Jamell Andrews, a parenting expert and regular contributor to Parenting Journals concurred that children are feeling more stress. He says, “Especially in this age of increased expectations, rigorous study, and intense competition for educational opportunities, kids are increasingly dealing with stress in addition to all the traditional sources of bad feelings in children. Stress is no longer just a grownup problem. Kids face many of the same pressure that adults do, and they also have pressures of their own.”
These pressures can have real and long-term effects on children, their parents and the family as a whole. In 2010, the American Psychological Association (APA) released their yearly Stress in America study showed that chronic stress could have long-term term impact on emotional and physical health. The study reads: “There also seems to be a troublesome trend emerging among families in which parents are underestimating how much stress their children experience and the impact their own stress has on their children. At the same time, children as young as eight years old are reporting that they experience physical and emotional health consequences often associated with stress.”