Children’s Commissioner
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Children and stress, what’s worrying them most

While there has been a welcome increase in educational attainment over recent years, we are concerned about the levels of stress being found among British children. We speak with children regularly and what they tell us does so much to inform our work, particularly which areas we should focus on every year in our business plan. Many children have talked to us about feeling stressed, and we wanted to find out more about the things that they say stress them out most.

Child worrying

In March, we asked almost 2,000 8 to 17- year-olds about stress – coincidentally our survey happened at the same time the coronavirus outbreak was emerging and schools were beginning to close.

Two thirds (66%) of the children we spoke with told us they felt most stressed about homework and/or exams, ahead of worrying about what other people think of them (39%) and bullying (25%).

In their open text responses to our survey, many children mentioned money and their parents’ jobs, shouting, and not being listened to as their main cause for stress. Some of these issues can weigh on children more profoundly amid the covid-19 crisis, while the challenges that the most at-risk children already experience do not disappear at a time of national crisis, and in fact, they can become even more difficult to bear.

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