Mental Health

Signs of Overscheduling in Kids

Psychologists have long warned about overscheduling, which undermines children’s ability to develop non-academic skills that they’ll need in adulthood, from coping with setbacks to building strong relationships. Now a trio of economists say they’ve been able to calculate some of these psychological costs. In a new data analysis published in the February 2024 issue of the Economics of Education Review, three economists from the University of Georgia and the Federal Reserve Board found that students…

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How Parents Can Help Anxious Children

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health concern in children. The rates of anxious children have been growing dramatically; in 2021, a meta-analysis found that 20.5% of children worldwide have symptoms of anxiety. It is very normal for children to have fears that seem irrational or out of proportion to the danger actually posed, such as being afraid of the dark or worried about parents leaving. However, most children seem to outgrow these fears…

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Talking to Kids About Difficult Emotions

While we may wish our kids could be happy all the time, as it turns out, they wouldn’t be healthy if they were. Studies show that those who experience emodiversity, a range and abundance of both positive and more difficult emotions, are happier and healthier than those who remain numb or tend to fixate on any one emotion for a long period of time. Additionally, in environments that place a premium on expressing positive emotions…

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4 Beliefs to Inspire Motivated Mindsets

Many instructors have observed variability in students’ motivation to learn and grow. How can educators enable engagement, persistence, and improved performance in the classroom? Mindset science has uncovered actionable insights into the academic behaviors of students. What students believe about themselves and their capabilities tremendously influences their learning motivation, as beliefs are called mindsets when they filter how we make sense of the world and ourselves. Mindsets act on our choice of goals and goal-pursuit…

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How Investing in Counselors is Good for Education

School counselors have long been understood as a key ingredient in college access, but the impact of counselors on student achievement has largely gone unmeasured. A recent paper from researcher Christine Mulhern, a Ph.D. student and PIER fellow at the Center on Education Policy Research at Harvard University, fills that gap, making clear just how valuable a counselor’s role can be. Indeed, Mulhern found that while teachers and counselors make an impact on students via…

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6 Tips for Student Emotional Wellbeing

Feeling down, anxious, or stressed out? These tips for emotional wellbeing can help. If you are able to change your mindset in small ways, larger changes in your outlook will begin to take shape. Here are some places to start. 1. Pair a chore with a favorite activity. When Katy Milkman started graduate school, her exercise routine went out the window, as all she wanted at the end of a long day of classes was to…

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Mental Health-Focused Study Tips

You’ve signed up for classes, you’ve learned your way around the virtual course system — and now, you’ve got to make sure you survive all the way to graduation. Laptop or paper notes? Highlighter or flashcards? And does music help while studying? Here’s how to take better notes and study so that you remember what you’ve learned — without getting crushed by college stress. Plus: what to do if you do feel crushed. There is…

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Empowering Students with Young Adult Literature

Young people give us hope–young people who don’t give up or give in, who have loud voices and the courage to use them to say enough is enough. Young people whose empathy, compassion and sense of justice in the face of violence, oppression and tragedy are humbling. So, too, do books give us hope–they can save lives and change lives. Here are some of our favorite books for empowering students who are leading the charge,…

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Exercise Tips for Kids and Teens

It’s no mystery that exercise boosts mental health and cognitive function in kids. A nine-month study of children aged seven through nine found that kids who were active could think more clearly, and a March 2020 report found that 12-, 14-, and 16-year-olds who exercised regularly were less likely to develop depression by age 18. Brain scans of 20-year-olds revealed that active young adults have better recall and thinking ability. The relationship between movement and…

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Social-Emotional Learning Activities

Knowledge is indeed power, but academic achievement is only one aspect of a successful education. Children must also learn social-emotional skills to develop healthy identities, manage emotions, set goals, express empathy, build relationships, and make decisions. Teaching and practicing these techniques is called “social-emotional learning” (SEL). SEL has many benefits for students, ranging from improved school performance to healthier friendships. Plus, down the road, those with strong social and emotional competence are more likely to…

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