Exams bring stress – the pressure to perform, the bearing that performance has on future life and employment prospects, pressures from teachers and so on can all contribute to exam stress. Parents can however help their child overcome and deal with the stress that exams can bring.
Look out for signs of stress
If a child seems withdrawn or preoccupied; irritable for easily angered, these could be warning signs of stress. If this seems to occur around exam time, it may be a fair surmise that the two are connected, so a parent should try and discuss this with their child.
Tell them that the nervousness is normal and perhaps tell stories of how you yourself coped with exam stress. Reassure the child and encourage them to articulate their problems and offer solutions as and when possible.
Look after the child’s nutrition and rest
Make sure that the child is getting adequate rest and prioritize a regular bedtime at least for weekdays. Rest is vital for stress management.
Also proper nutrition is required from proper physical and mental functioning so make sure that the child is eating a healthy, and nutritious; balanced diet.
Create opportunities for exercise
Exercise is a known stress booster and will also help an exam pressured child to disengage from those pressures. Not just that, exercise will also help a child improve their energy levels and can be a pleasurable, group activity to enjoy. Encourage your child to go for a swim or a bike ride with friends, or to get involved with sports.
Be flexible and don’t bar fun activities
If the bedroom is untidy, don’t stress on it just yet; it can wait a bit. If some chores leave much to be desired now may not be the time to lay down the law. Also, just because it is exam time, it doesn’t mean the child cannot have any fun. In fact some leisure and recreation activity is important to help consolidate learned material.
You can review the course material and help your child draw up a study plan; a timetable that apportions time for each portion of the study material. A parent can also help by making sure that the child has uninterrupted study time and space.
If required, speak to the teachers about extra coaching or some way to lighten the load. However getting involved doesn’t mean that the parent adds to the child’s stress. Offering support is one thing and criticizing and managing the child’s curriculum quite another.