Keep school-related stress at bay by planning ahead

Family Nurse Practitioner Robin Allen says the best way to teach time management skills is by example. (File).

December is Less Stress Month, and experts say getting behind on school work can be a major source of stress for children.

This time of year brings lots of holiday fun and festivities; but first, students have to finish the school semester strong.

When projects and tests start to pile up, Family Nurse Practitioner Robin Allen said it's crucial that families cultivate strong time management skills. "I think it's really important for parents to lead by example for the children. Seeing that parents are setting deadlines, keeping calendars, that's a great idea. And kids need to be taught. They're not born with the ability to have time management," she said.

Allen said at first, kids may need help getting started with school-related tasks. "If there is a big project or assignment coming up, try to sit down and set small goals for the child. Make a point of deciding, 'We're going to get this piece done tonight, or this done this weekend...'This way, the kids learn over time that they can start doing that on their own," she said.

There's no such thing as starting too young, according to Allen. Her son is five years old, but his lessons in time management are already underway. "For us at home, it's all about having that schedule, that same routine. We haven't gotten too much into homework, but he does after school activities, he's involved in 4-H. So we have meetings and we schedule around those, and projects we have to do," she said.

Allen said helping children learn time management skills now can pay off big time later in life: "Our biggest deal right now is bed time routines," she said. "That's not necessarily a complicated thing, but he is young and it's building habits. That way it can transfer over when he is in school and doing homework. He knows that 7:30 is bedtime, and homework needs to be done by then. It's just setting those good examples."

Watch KRCG 13 at 5 p.m. next Friday for our next Family First segment - we'll talk to a physician about the importance of self-care this busy holiday season.

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