Last Updated on August 31, 2021 by Thinkster
You may be able to spot when your best friend, boss, or spouse is having a bad day, but do you always know when your child is stressed out?
While most parents think childhood isn’t as stressful as dealing with a full time job and providing for a family, kids these days have it harder than they did.
Though an online math tutor wasn’t around back then, they may be able to help your child deal with the ever-increasing academic pressure placed on their shoulders now.
Every child, pre-teen, and teen experiences some form of stress these days. According to the American Psychological Association, signs of stress in kids and teens can present as:
When you’re stressed out, you probably can’t focus on anything but what you’re worried about. You may feel anxious and have trouble performing higher-level mental activities you’re normally great at.
The same happens to your child when they’re stressed.
It’s a commonly known fact that stress has a negative impact on adults, but what about how it impacts children — especially in the area of learning?
Since your child’s brain is still developing well through adolescence, the impact of stress on their learning and critical thinking skills can be even greater than it would be for adults.
Stress makes it difficult to learn new information. Any kind of stressful experience releases hormones called cortisol and adrenaline into our system.
This makes our hearts beat faster and gives us the “fight or flight” reaction necessary to get out of a life-or-death situation (even if the situation isn’t really life-threatening and may only be a pop quiz).
Students who are experiencing stress find it difficult to absorb and process new information via the usual classroom methods.
Compared to what their bodies are experiencing under stress, staring at a blackboard or solving repetitive math worksheets just seems humdrum and mundane so they can’t totally focus on it.
A lack of concentration for just one day can set your child back for weeks or even months if the concepts being taught then are critical foundational theories.
That’s why having an effective tutoring session can be critical, so it doesn’t add to their anticipatory stress.
If your child doesn’t deal with their stressors and they remain in a stress fog, the long term consequences could be detrimental to not only their academic success, but their overall health and well being.
Elevated cortisol levels kills brain cells. Long term, elevated cortisol levels killed brain cells in lab rats and left them unable to learn new behaviors in one study.
Scientists have identified dendrites, or branches of nerve cells that form neural pathways we need when we learn new things like math concepts, actually wither away under chronic stress.
When these pathways are killed off, it’s much more difficult to retain new material and assimilate it for further learning.
Children who have difficulties connecting more advanced concepts with those they’ve already mastered have an uphill battle when harder problems show up later down the road.
Stressed children have lower IQs. In practical terms, studies have shown that kids exposed to stress over a long period of time also have lower IQs than children who are not.
Even picking up on a parent’s chronic stress has been shown to affect a child’s brain development.
But stress is not a death sentence for a child’s intellectual development. Helping kids overcome stress can make it easier for them to learn mathematics and other subjects.
“Stress effects are not ‘brain damage’ but reversible or treatable,” according to neuroendocrinology researcher Bruce McEwen from Rockefeller University.
When the stressor is removed or adapted to, dendrites can bounce back and form new connections.
So what can parents do to help their children handle stress and learn a math concept (and other subjects) better?
Finding the source of a child’s stress is the first step, and this isn’t always easy.
Many students who do well academically become stressed they’re not doing better. The whole idea of needing a private math tutor may also stress the student.
Parents may not realize the impact of their reactions on their children and how they might be inducing this.
Kids can’t always communicate or even understand what’s going on inside them sometimes, but counselors are trained to get to the root of what’s bothering them if you need a little help starting the conversation.
You may not be able to protect your child from all forms of stress, but you can work to remove harmful, chronic stress from their lives and help them learn to deal with it in a healthier way.
So instead of telling your child to be less stressed, give them the tools to do so. If you know math class is a stressor in your child’s life, that may be one of the first signs it’s time to hire an online math tutor.
From math homework help to test prep, they’ll be able to eliminate some of the stress so it doesn’t harm your child’s ability to learn algebra, geometry, and everything else.
Online math tutors can help identify the source of your child’s math stress. Whether your child is climbing to the top of their class or struggling to stay there, an online math tutor will be able to pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses.
When your child can hone in and fix what they’re struggling with, they’ll build confidence in their abilities to handle problems on their own. This eases their worries and helps them practice more math in less time.
Depending on the tutor’s teaching style, the student may experience a wealth of positive results, including new study skills.
Kids of all ages seem to find tablets interesting for learning. Since greater interest often leads to greater learning, this makes them perfect for delivering online math programs.
One of the awesome benefits of math tutor apps and online math tutoring is that learning via app delivers math concepts in ways that make them easy to understand for kids.
To them, progress happens like it does in a video game so it feels like math is fun.
Tablets are more interactive and one-on-one than most classroom situations, so students stay on task longer and experience less boredom than they would with a lecture-style lesson.
Hands-on learning is always better for student engagement, and tablets provide this in a simple format that is easy to follow.
In several recent studies, kids who used tablets instead of books demonstrated higher test scores and greater proficiency than those not using tablets.
Even babies as young as six months old learned to recognize numbers three times faster when using a tablet than with other methods.
Your child probably doesn’t take 5- minute breaks to stretch or bust out a few jumping jacks at a math learning center, or even during a private tutoring program but they definitely can when their tutoring happens via mobile device.
And exercise is a great way to relieve stress.
Studies show that physical activity stimulates brain growth and neuron development, as well as making neurons more resistant, according to Monica R. Fleshner, Ph.D., an integrative physiologist at the University of Colorado.
When your child takes their online math tutor with them, they can practice math on-the-go, take a break to walk around and clear their head, and then get right back to their lesson.
Learning progresses at the student’s pace with a math app. Good math apps only move on to harder problems when the student is getting a majority of the answers right.
In this way, information can be repeated and reviewed as many times as necessary, without the student needing to ask anyone for help or admit to a teacher that they didn’t understand the first time.
Unlike staying after school for extra math homework help with their classmates, your child can make mistakes and learn on their own without fear or worry about looking “stupid”. That’s another advantage tablet-based education has.
Rather than children being crushed when spoken to harshly or finding out they’ve solved a problem incorrectly, your child will stress less with the impersonal feedback from their online math app.
Feedback is usually immediate and impersonal so kids won’t feel like they’ve failed or don’t know enough. With an online tutor via tablet, it’s okay to get the wrong answer. You just try again until you get it.
From bad hair days to unexpected pimples and not having anything clean to wear or other middle school excuses, an online math tutor eliminates all the excuses your child may use to put off math practice. So the potential for embarrassment resulting from a missed math problem is removed.
Instead of working on math help once a week like at a learning center, math practice happens anytime, anywhere.
Your child doesn’t have to feel distracted and self-conscious in their awkward years so they can fully focus on becoming a mathlete ready to wield their graphing calculator like a pro.
Reducing stress in children can help them succeed at learning a new math concept and become better students – and many students find greater success (and less stress) when doing math online which translates to a better experience in a traditional math course.
Thinkster Math combines the interest and engagement of a tablet with the personalized feedback of a math coach.
Math problems are graded daily by a student’s personal online math tutor and personalized feedback is given to clarify any math concept students may be struggling with. As students master math concepts, they move on to more challenging work.
Whether your child is struggling with math or wants to learn more advanced concepts than their school is covering, Thinkster can meet their personalized needs and help them excel.
Check out this demo of how Thinkster works to experience increased engagement yourself. Then start your free 7-day trial to see how your child responds today!