Children who are overburdened in class display these 10 behaviours (without realizing it)

Children who are overburdened in class display these 10 behaviours (without realizing it)

Home - School self evaluation - Children who are overburdened in class display these 10 behaviours (without realizing it)
Children who are overburdened in class usually display these 10 behaviors

In classrooms across India, a familiar sight persists: students hunched over textbooks, their faces illuminated by the faint glow of pre-dawn study sessions. This relentless pursuit of academic achievement has become a defining characteristic of the Indian student. But beneath this stereotype lies a pressing concern: overburdening. Indian students are shouldering an educational load that prioritizes results over well-being, leading to a decline in mental health and a potential loss of the very curiosity that fuels true learning.

Statistics paint a sobering picture:

  • Indian students endure long school days followed by hours of homework, leaving little room for crucial rest and exploration.
  • Furthermore, an exam-oriented system emphasizes rote memorisation over fostering a deep understanding of concepts.

The consequences are stark: stress, anxiety, and even depression plague students while their natural thirst for knowledge withers under the weight of expectation.

This article delves beyond the mark sheet. We’ll explore the root causes and consequences of overburdening in Indian schools. More importantly, we’ll offer practical solutions for creating a learning environment that nurtures well-rounded individuals. Join us as we chart a path towards a balanced education system that empowers India’s young minds to excel and truly thrive.

What is Overburdening in Students?

Overburdening in Indian students refers to the excessive pressure they face to excel academically, exceeding their capacity and negatively impacting their well-being. It manifests in several ways:

1. Excessive workload:

This includes long school hours, followed by a significant amount of homework, leaving minimal free time for relaxation, hobbies, or even getting enough sleep.

2. Focus on rote learning:

The education system often prioritizes memorisation and scoring high marks on exams rather than fostering a deep understanding of concepts. This can lead to cramming and a lack of critical thinking skills.

3. Parental and societal expectations:

Indian society places a high value on academic achievement, putting immense pressure on students to excel. This pressure can come from parents, relatives, and peers, adding to the burden.

4. Reliance on tuition:

The belief that tuition is necessary to keep up with the workload creates a vicious cycle. Overloaded curriculums make managing students without extra coaching difficult, putting financial strain on families.

Children who are overburdened in class display these 10 behaviours (without realizing it)

Consequences of Overburdening

Understanding the consequences of overburdening is essential. We can see how overburdening goes beyond just academic performance and impacts the overall well-being and prospects of Indian students. Let’s see what these consequences are:

1. Social and Emotional Development:

  • Strained relationships: Constant pressure to perform can lead to social isolation and strained relationships with friends and family. Students may prioritize studies over social interactions, neglecting important connections.
  • Decreased self-esteem: Consistent pressure and a fear of failure can lead to declining self-esteem and confidence. Students may feel inadequate if they don’t meet the high expectations placed upon them.
  • Loss of motivation: The feeling of being constantly overloaded can lead to a lack of motivation and initiative. Students may become passive learners, relying solely on rote memorisation rather than actively engaging with the material.

2. Long-Term Effects:

  • Burnout: Chronic stress and pressure can lead to burnout, a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion. This can negatively impact a student’s ability to cope with future academic challenges.
  • Reduced creativity and innovation: Overemphasis on rote learning and exams stifles creativity and the ability to think critically. Students may become afraid to take risks or explore new ideas for fear of failure.
  • Loss of interest in chosen fields: The joy of learning can be lost in the pressure to excel, leading students to lose interest in their chosen fields of study or future careers. This can result in career dissatisfaction and a sense of unfulfillment later in life.

3. Additional Considerations:

  • Socioeconomic disparities: Overburdening can disproportionately affect students from lower-income backgrounds. They may not have access to quality coaching or resources to keep up with the workload, widening the educational gap.
  • Impact on teachers: The pressure to complete the syllabus and prepare students for exams can also strain teachers. They may have less time for individual attention or innovative teaching methods.

10 Behaviours Overburdened Children Display

1. Withdrawal and Isolation:

  • What is it?: Withdrawal and isolation refer to the tendency of overburdened children to retreat from social interactions and group activities, preferring solitude as a coping mechanism.
  • Why it happens?: Overwhelmed by academic pressure, children may seek solace in isolation as they perceive social interactions as additional sources of stress.
  • Common symptoms: Avoidance of social gatherings or lunch breaks, reluctance to participate in group activities or discussions, spending excessive time alone, and showing disinterest in making friends. They may also display signs of social anxiety, such as nervousness or discomfort in social situations.

2. Frequent Distraction:

  • What is it?: Frequent distraction describes the inability of overburdened children to focus in class, often due to their minds wandering to thoughts related to their overwhelming workload.
  • Why it happens?: The weight of their workload overwhelms their cognitive capacity, making it challenging for them to concentrate on the task at hand. They may also experience mental fatigue from constantly processing information, leading to reduced attention spans.
  • Common symptoms: Daydreaming during class, difficulty following instructions or lectures, trouble staying engaged in lessons or completing assignments, and inconsistent performance in academic tasks. They may also exhibit impulsive behaviours or become easily distracted by external stimuli.

3. Procrastination:

  • What is it?: Procrastination refers to delaying or postponing tasks, leading to rushed and incomplete work.
  • Why it happens?: The overwhelming nature of their assignments can evoke anxiety and inadequacy, causing children to put off tasks until the last minute to avoid facing their academic challenges.
  • Common symptoms: Putting off homework assignments or studying until the night before they are due, feeling overwhelmed by the volume of tasks and unsure where to start, experiencing guilt or stress due to unfinished work, and struggling to meet deadlines. They may also engage in avoidant behaviours, such as distracting themselves with non-essential tasks or activities.

4. Physical Symptoms:

  • What is it?: Physical symptoms include complaints of headaches, stomachaches, and fatigue, which are common among overburdened children and may indicate the toll of stress on their bodies.
  • Why it happens?: The stress and anxiety associated with academic pressure can trigger physiological responses in the body, leading to various physical symptoms as the nervous system reacts to the overwhelming demands placed on it.
  • Common symptoms: Frequent headaches or migraines, stomachaches, fatigue or exhaustion despite adequate rest, difficulty sleeping or experiencing changes in sleep patterns, changes in appetite such as overeating or loss of appetite, and muscle tension or body aches. These symptoms may become chronic if the underlying stressors are not addressed, potentially leading to long-term health issues.

5. Decline in Academic Performance:

  • What is it?: A decline in academic performance indicates that overburdened children struggle to keep up with their studies and cannot achieve their full academic potential despite their efforts.
  • Why it happens?: The pressure to excel academically can lead to feelings of inadequacy and overwhelm, impacting children’s ability to concentrate, retain information, and perform to their full potential in academic tasks.
  • Common symptoms: Lower grades or test scores compared to their previous performance, incomplete assignments or missed deadlines, a noticeable decrease in participation in class activities or discussions, and difficulty understanding or retaining information presented in lessons. They may also display signs of academic disengagement, such as skipping classes or avoiding academic responsibilities.

6. Loss of Interest in Learning:

  • What is it?: Loss of interest in learning occurs when stress and anxiety overshadow the joy and curiosity that should accompany the learning process, leading children to view education as a burdensome chore rather than a source of personal growth and discovery.
  • Why it happens?: The relentless focus on academic achievement can diminish children’s enthusiasm for learning, as they become preoccupied with meeting external expectations rather than pursuing knowledge for its own sake.
  • Common symptoms: Expressing disinterest in school subjects or activities that were once enjoyable, lacking motivation to participate in class discussions or complete assignments, feeling bored or apathetic during lessons, and displaying a negative attitude towards learning in general. They may also exhibit signs of academic burnout, such as feeling emotionally drained or mentally exhausted by the demands of their studies.

7. Emotional Outbursts:

  • What is it?: Emotional outbursts refer to sudden displays of frustration, anger, or sadness, often triggered by inadequacy, overwhelm, or an inability to cope with the stressors associated with academic pressure.
  • Why it happens?: The pressure to meet high academic expectations can cause children to feel overwhelmed and emotionally dysregulated, leading to outbursts as a coping mechanism to release pent-up emotions or alleviate feelings of stress.
  • Common symptoms: Yelling, crying, slamming objects, tantrums, or withdrawing from interactions when feeling stressed or frustrated. They may also have difficulty regulating their emotions in response to perceived setbacks or failures, leading to mood swings or emotional instability.

8. Perfectionism:

  • What is it?: Perfectionism is characterized by setting impossibly high standards for oneself and experiencing intense anxiety and self-criticism when unable to meet them.
  • Why it happens?: Overburdened children may develop perfectionistic tendencies as a response to the pressure to excel academically, strive for perfection to avoid criticism or failure, and maintain control over their environment.
  • Common symptoms: Setting unrealistic goals or expectations for themselves, being overly self-critical or perfectionistic in their work, feeling anxious or stressed when making mistakes or falling short of their standards, and experiencing a constant need for validation or approval from others. They may also excessively check or revise their work, seek reassurance from others, or avoid tasks altogether if they fear they cannot meet their own high standards.

9. Decreased Self-esteem:

  • What is it?: Decreased self-esteem refers to a decline in children’s confidence and self-worth, often resulting from constant academic pressure, inadequacy, or a perceived inability to meet external expectations.
  • Why it happens?: The inability to meet high academic expectations can erode children’s self-esteem, leading them to doubt their abilities, internalize negative feedback or criticism, and develop a negative self-image.
  • Common symptoms: Negative self-talk or self-criticism, feelings of worthlessness or incompetence, reluctance to participate in class discussions or activities for fear of failure or judgment, and avoiding challenges or new experiences due to a lack of confidence in their abilities. They may also compare themselves unfavourably to their peers or experience feelings of shame or embarrassment about their academic performance or perceived shortcomings.

10. Lack of Enjoyment in School:

  • What is it?: Lack of enjoyment in school occurs when stress and anxiety overshadow the joy and curiosity that should accompany the learning process, leading children to view education as a source of stress rather than a place of growth and discovery.
  • Why it happens?: Academic pressure can create a negative association with the school, leading children to view education as a source of stress rather than enjoyment and causing them to disengage from the learning process.
  • Common symptoms: Expressing a desire to skip school or avoid attending classes, complaining about school-related activities or assignments, and displaying disengagement or apathy towards learning. They may also exhibit signs of school avoidance, such as frequent absences or tardiness, or engage in disruptive behaviours to seek attention or avoid academic responsibilities.

School Strategies for Tackling Overburdening

1. Curriculum and Teaching Methods:

  • Focus on learning, not just grades: Shift the emphasis from rote memorisation to fostering a deeper understanding of concepts. Encourage critical thinking, problem-solving, and application of knowledge.
  • Reduce syllabus content: Streamline the curriculum to prioritize essential concepts and skills rather than cramming in excessive information. This allows for deeper exploration and mastery of key subjects.
  • Project-based learning: Implement activities that allow students to apply their knowledge to real-world situations. This fosters collaboration, creativity, and problem-solving skills.
  • Technology integration: Utilize technology effectively to personalize learning experiences and make them more engaging. Use online resources, simulations, and interactive tools to enhance understanding.

2. Workload Management:

  • Limit homework: Assign homework that reinforces learning objectives, not just adds to the burden. Consider spaced repetition techniques for spaced-out practice instead of daily overload.
  • Flexible deadlines: Offer flexible deadlines for assignments, especially for larger projects, to allow students to manage their time effectively and avoid last-minute cramming.
  • Holistic timetables: Design timetables incorporating breaks for physical activity, relaxation, and creative pursuits. This helps students maintain focus and well-being throughout the day.

3. Assessment and Evaluation:

  • Diverse assessment methods: Move beyond solely relying on exams. To gauge student understanding, utilize various assessment methods like presentations, projects, portfolios, and class participation.
  • Focus on progress, not just perfection: Emphasize effort, progress, and improvement over achieving perfect scores. Provide constructive feedback to help students learn from their mistakes.

4. School Culture and Support Systems:

  • Counselling services: Provide access to qualified counsellors who can help students manage stress, anxiety, and academic pressure.
  • Stress management workshops: Organize workshops and sessions to teach students healthy coping mechanisms for stress and anxiety.
  • Parental engagement workshops: Educate parents about the negative effects of overburdening and promote healthy learning habits at home.
  • Time management workshops: Equip students with time management skills to prioritize tasks, manage workloads, and schedule their time effectively.

5. Collaboration with Parents and Community:

  • Open communication: Maintain open communication with parents about academic expectations and workloads. Encourage parental support for a holistic approach to education.
  • Community involvement: Partner with local organizations to provide opportunities for students to explore their interests and develop skills outside the classroom.

It’s important to note that implementing these strategies requires a systemic shift in educational priorities. It involves collaboration between schools, teachers, parents, and policymakers to create an environment that prioritizes student well-being alongside academic achievement.

Tips for Parents:

1. Reduce Pressure and Set Realistic Expectations:

  • Focus on learning, not just grades: Celebrate your child’s curiosity and effort, not just perfect scores.
  • Encourage a balanced life: Ensure your child has time for relaxation, hobbies, and physical activity.
  • Open communication: Talk to your child about their stress levels and academic pressures. Be a supportive listener and offer guidance, not ultimatums.
  • Set realistic goals: Work with your child and their teachers to set achievable goals for progress and improvement.

2. Promote Healthy Habits:

  • Encourage good sleep: Ensure your child gets enough sleep each night for optimal concentration and physical health.
  • Healthy meals and snacks: Provide a balanced diet with nutritious meals and snacks to fuel their learning and well-being.
  • Limit screen time: Set limits on screen time to prevent digital overload and encourage other activities.
  • Exercise and mindfulness: Encourage physical activity and mindfulness practices like yoga or meditation to help manage stress and improve focus.

3. Be a Partner with Teachers:

  • Communicate with teachers: Maintain open communication about your child’s progress, workload, and any concerns you might have.
  • Support, don’t replace teachers: Avoid doing your child’s homework or projects for them. Offer guidance and support, but let them learn from their work.
  • Advocate for a balanced approach: If you feel the workload is excessive, work with other parents and the school to advocate for changes prioritizing student well-being.


In conclusion, the issue of overburdening in Indian schools requires a collective effort for change. By implementing the strategies outlined in this article, schools can move beyond focusing on rote learning and exam results. Teachers can create engaging and interactive classrooms that foster a love of learning. Parents can prioritize well-being alongside academic achievement. Ultimately, a shift in educational priorities is needed to value not just the marks on a page but the spark of curiosity and the holistic well-being of India’s future generation. This transformation promises not just a reduction in student stress but the nurturing of innovative, well-rounded individuals equipped to tackle the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. Let us move beyond the burden and empower young minds to truly flourish.


1. How do you know if a child is facing problems?

It’s crucial to differentiate between behaviour in children and significant issues. Below are some indicators to watch for:

  • Frequency and intensity: It’s normal for children to have outbursts. Consistent tantrums, aggression or defiance could indicate a problem.
  • Age-appropriate behaviour: Take into account your child’s age. What may be expected of a toddler could be troublesome for a child.
  • Impact on activities: Are these behaviours hindering your child’s ability to learn, play or socialize?

If you have any worries about your child’s actions, let’s have a conversation with your child’s doctor or a mental health expert.

2. What are the behaviours of an overwhelmed child?

Children can’t always express overwhelm with words. Here are some signs to look for:

  • Meltdowns or tantrums: This is a common way for young children to express feeling overloaded.
  • Regression: They might start wetting their pants again or needing more cuddles.
  • Physical symptoms: Headaches, stomachaches, or changes in appetite can be signs of stress.
  • Withdrawal: They might become quiet, isolate themselves, or lose interest in activities they used to enjoy.

3. What are the indications that a child may be experiencing stress?

Stress can show up in ways in children regardless of their age. Here are some typical signs to look out for:

  • Shifts in the mood: Irritability, feeling sad or seeking attention.
  • Sleep issues: Trouble getting to sleep, having dreams, or waking up often.
  • Trouble staying focused: They might seem restless and find it hard to concentrate on activities.
  • Physical symptoms: Headaches, stomach pains or wetting the bed.

4. What is the 3-3-3 rule for anxiety children?

The 3-3-3 rule is a simple technique to help manage anxiety in the moment. It involves:

  • Look around you: Notice three things you see.
  • Listen: Pay attention to three things you hear.
  • Move three body parts: Wiggle your toes, take three deep breaths, etc.

This helps ground yourself in the present and distract from anxious thoughts.

5. How to help Overburdened children?

Here are some ways to help a child who feels overwhelmed:

  • Reduce stimulation: Give them a quiet space to relax and unwind.
  • Create a predictable routine: Knowing what to expect can be calming for children.
  • Break down tasks: Make big goals into smaller, manageable steps.
  • Open communication: Talk to your child about their feelings and help them identify their stressors.
  • Relaxation techniques: Simple breathing exercises or yoga can be helpful for managing stress.

If you’re concerned about your child’s behaviour, seek professional guidance from a therapist or counselor who specializes in children’s mental health.


Latest Blogs

Most Viewed Blogs