How To Identify Symptoms Of Burnout In Your Child

We often talk about burnout in the adult world, and that’s not entirely wrong. After all, with the rapid pace of work life, it’s not uncommon for adults to experience burnout. However, extending the conversation to the academic setting is equally important – children today can experience the same when they do not establish boundaries for themselves and when parents do not intervene at the right time.

Being able to differentiate exhaustion and burnout is important here. Your child may feel exhausted from studying and participating in school activities – this is normal. But if you notice your child feeling exhausted to the point where they no longer have control over what they are experiencing, become disinterested in studying, school or anything in general, and have no motivation to press on, it’s highly likely that they’re experiencing burnout.

Stress and overwork are the major causes of burnout, which can impact your child’s physical and mental health. This influences how well they perform in school. As parents, it’s important to step in and help your child overcome this.

Identifying the symptoms of burnout is a good start.

1. Your Child Has Trouble Focusing.

When your child pushes themselves too hard for a long time, both their mind and body become exhausted. This makes it difficult for them to focus on anything, be it their schoolwork, co-curricular activity or even a programme on the television. This is because the brain is struggling to process information. Stress, on top of this, makes this increasingly challenging. At the same time, they are too tired physically to give their fullest attention to the task at hand.

Often, your child will exhibit these behaviours when they have trouble focusing:

  • Taking very long time to complete their homework or not managing to complete it in time
  • Falling asleep while studying or doing their homework
  • Finding themselves doing something else instead of the task at hand (i.e. surfing the net, doodling, etc.)
  • Engaging less with family and friends

2. Your Child’s Grades Deteriorate.

A lack of focus in school means your child’s grades will most likely deteriorate. Since they are not able to focus in class, they cannot catch up with the syllabus as fast as their peers. Studying for exams becomes increasingly difficult as well, which thus results in them not performing as well as they should.

Disinterest in studying, a key symptom of burnout, can also impact your child’s grades. The stress they are experiencing forces them to zone out more often than not – the effort required to get back on track in itself can be demotivating, as they are already mentally drained to begin with.

3. Your Child Gets Irritated Quickly.

Since your child is still developing both physically and emotionally, stress can be tough to handle. One of the ways this manifests in their behaviour is when they get irritated quickly, and lash out more often than they do. There are several reasons for this. For one, they do not have the coping mechanisms that adults have when it comes to managing stress. Feeling overwhelmed, helpless and uncertain about what to do can also cause them to react that way. In other instances, their irritability is their way of expressing how they feel, often due to a lack of control or emotional regulation.

What Can You Do To Help Your Child Overcome Burnout?

It is important for parents to provide the support and understanding your child needs when they are feeling extremely stressed and exhausted. Providing them with the space to express their feelings and find solutions to cope with difficult situations in more constructive ways can go a long way in helping your child recover from burnout. Here are some quick tips:

  • Encourage your child to express themselves: Let them come to terms with what they are feeling. Being aware of their state of mind is the first step to take before finding a solution.
  • Ensure your child takes sufficient breaks when studying: Breaks help to recharge the mind. If your child finds themselves losing focus, encourage them to get off the task a while before tackling it again.
  • Remind your child that it’s okay to make mistakes: Failure is part of learning – teaching your child the value of mistakes can help them feel less fearful of making mistakes, which is often one of the key reasons why children feel overly stressed.
  • Plan exercises: Fitness is key to mental health and can help your child cope with burnout. Whether it’s cycling, a hike or regular runs around the neighbourhood, the endorphins released help to reduce stress and improve their overall well-being.
  • Plan enough time for study and play: It’s inhumane to force a child to study without letting them unwind and play. This is why planning out their study routines is very important. At MindSpace by MindChamps, we understand the toll academics — school and tuition combined – can have on students. Our after school care programmes in Singapore are designed as a solution to this – by providing a holistic educational programme fit with enrichment activities to help them perform better in school. With this, they can skip multiple tuitions sessions that can take time away from family activities and rest time.

Why not book an appointment with MindSpace by MindChamps to learn more about our programmes and how we can help your child?