Exam stress is a rampant phenomenon. Experts actually recommend a bit of exam anxiety as it can help to boost performance and confidence levels in the long run. But what if stress becomes overwhelming and causes the kids to stumble in the process of learning?
The time has come once again when both the kids and their parents will be under high exam stress levels and the parents will keep popping pills to keep them away from the anxiety and stress about their kids performance in the exam.
If your teens are heading into exams, the exam stress-related temperature in your household can go through the roof.
Exam stress starts with sleep deprivation – theirs and yours. A study of over 1,000 parents and students has shown that 80% of teens lose between 2-4 hours of sleep each night, it’s no wonder parents may struggle to manage the stress fall-out.
Exam stress can put the whole household on edge. Parents worry about how well their kids will do, how much or little they’re studying and the impacts their performance may have on their future.
There’s a solution for every problem and we must not forget that problem and solution comes as a package.
7 tips for parents to help children combat exam stress.
1. Pay attention to their concerns
Talk about exam stress and let them know such feelings are completely normal. Be an attentive listener and try to resolve any possible query or problem your child may have. Your child’s point of view on any subject must never be disregarded. There should be healthy communication between you and your child. This will not only keep your child motivated but also improve her reasoning and problem-solving skills.
2. Make Time for Exercise and Entertainment.
I have known some parents who do not allow their children to play or go outside if they have exams coming up. However, it’s important that kids do some kind of physical activity or otherwise give their brains a break every few hours, even if it’s just for 15 or 20 minutes. It depends on your child’s individual capacity: Some students can sit and study for hours, while others have a shorter attention span. Exercise, physical activities, and entertainment help break that monotony.
- Have your child take a break for some exercise every 2–3 hours while studying.
- Encourage your child to play games outside. This is a great way to rejuvenate the body and mind (plus, children love it).
- It’s also useful to have your child practice deep breathing and meditation during their study breaks, especially if they have stress-related problems.
- Some children rejuvenate by watching their favourite TV program or cartoon. There is no harm in this. Let them take a short break with their favourite show.
3. Healthy body for a healthy mind.
You might feel that with so much going on already, is it a good idea to instill healthy habits at this very moment. But the fact is that healthy eating habits and a little bit of workout are not only good for your child but will also keep his mind racing for longer than usual. Fruits with antioxidants, yoga, walking, and fresh air are some of the things that will give the required push to your child. The point is not to exert your child but to keep him fresh and up and about.
4. Know your child’s limit.
Your child and you are not defined by one examination alone. Your expectations from your child should be in sync with his as well. Unrealistic hope and achievements will only bring in more stress in your child and you. You can always start early and maintain activities at a constant speed instead of hurrying them up towards the end. Your child will learn a lot about time management as well.
5. Never judge or compare.
Your child’s score in the exams may not necessarily reflect her true potential. So never question her caliber on the basis of her scores or compare her with her peers. Refrain from saying anything that might hurt the sentiments of the child. Negative words or comparisons with other students will only hamper her performance in the exams. And remember that exams are just one of the many challenges your child will face. It is not the be-all and end-all of life, avoid creating exam stress. So, don’t fret and take it easy!
6. Ensure they’re getting enough sleep.
Getting enough sleep is fundamental to performing well at school and especially during exams. Many research shows that 9 out of 10 kids take their devices to bed with them during exam times. When teens spend most of their evening studying, they’ll usually want to catch up on social media before bed and this can cut hours from their sleep time – resulting in them being excessively tired right before their exams causing exam stress. I recommend either banning devices in bedrooms during exam times or even cutting off the internet at bedtime.
7. Praise efforts, not their intelligence.
Your child’s grades are based on their efforts and understanding of a subject. You must appreciate them for the efforts that they are putting in and refrain from making remarks or harsh comments on their level of intelligence. Provide them with positive affirmations such as ‘You can do it, ‘You’re making great progress, ‘You can reach your goals, etc.