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Stress in School-Age Children

School related stress has become a problem for children nationwide. Nearly one in three teenagers told the American Psychological Association that, “Stress drove them to sadness or depression and their single biggest source of stress was school.” Our expectations of school-age children continue to grow with seven hour school days, hours of nightly homework, daily sports practices, rehearsals, and weekend performances/tournaments. On top of that, children deal with friendships, bullying, and other social situations in the school setting.

A recent study looking at school related stress was conducted at Irvington High School in Fremont, California and determined that 54% of the 2,100 student population, showed moderate to severe symptoms of depression. Although this study pinpoints one high school in the United States, it is an indication of how powerful an effect stress has on children. To help alleviate the stress at Irvington, teachers began reexamining homework demands, students started a task force to promote healthy habits and balanced schedules, and school counselors added advisory periods for student support. The school is seeing promising signs that their efforts to combat stress are working.

As a parent of school-age children, learning ways for my kids to cope with the stress of school is important. Listening to my child’s concerns without being judgmental, making sure my child is getting enough sleep each night, and encouraging outdoor play or making time for a favorite activity are some ways I can help as a parent. Stress can lead to physical ailments, as well as sadness or depression, and finding a good balance for kids is essential.


“Beyond Measure: Rescuing an Overscheduled, Overtested, Underestimated Generation,” and documentaries “Race to Nowhere” and “Beyond Measure” Vicki Abeles, author, director and producer

“Stress Management for Children” Katherine Lee, author

“Help Your Tween Cope with Stress” Jennifer O’Donnell , author

American Psychological Association


Lori Atkinson, Operations Assistant for The Kim Foundation
Lori Atkinson joined The Kim Foundation in May 2015 as an Operations Assistant. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from UNL in Middle Level Education. She was an 8th grade English teacher in the Omaha Public Schools for ten years and started a small non-profit in her husband’s memory in 2010. Lori assists with many of the day-to-day tasks for The Kim Foundation which includes scheduling presentations in the community, coordinating booths at conferences, attending mental health trainings, researching mental illness/suicide, and working community events. Lori is the proud mom of three children and is actively involved in her church.