Don’t Let Exam Stress Harm Your Child
With the season of competitive exams just round the corner, there is tremendous anxiety in the air. It’s not just the exams alone that get stress levels soaring. Students find themselves weighed down by many people ‘s expectations, comparisons. parental pressure and future growth.
Lives begin to revolve around classes and tuition teachers, strict timetables and academics. With their future at stake, it is not surprising that children find themselves experiencing very high stress and anxiety levels. Parents play a pivotal role in reducing exam stress by looking after the needs of their children and providing support in many ways. Here are some things parents can do to prevent their children from experiencing exam stress.
Don’t Compare Your Child With Others
Most parents want their children to outperform others. Parents need to identify and understand their child’s capabilities and interests. Help them succeed in their preferred stream instead of pushing them to be the best in everything. Do not burden your child with your ambitions and expectations as it is counterproductive.
Express Your Support
Parents are the most important pillars in a child’s life. They always look to them for emotional, physical and mental support, even subconsciously. Parents should provide this to their children, irrespective of their grades. The ideal approach is to accept your child as he/ she is, without using the performance in an exam as a yard stick for measuring his/her capabilities in life.
Offer Small Rewards
A child needs to be motivated and encouraged enough to enjoy the process of learning and preparation for the exams. Punishment should be the last resort. Instead, reward your child with more play time or cook his? her favourite meal etc. Rewards should not be treated as bribes, for example money or games.
Suggest Healthy Behaviours
Gently inquire about your children’s sleeping, eating and exercise habits. Ensure they are well rested and taking sufficient nutrition. Providing a healthy balanced diet with less intake of junk food is a necessity. The day should start with a nutritious breakfast, Also a regular supply of nutritious food should be maintained during study time in order to keep the energy pumping. Skipping meals due to a packed study schedule should be avoided as it increases the anxiety and stress levels in the body.
Don’t Talk About The Exams
Refrain from continuous discussions about the last exam as it will stop the child from interacting with you. A child should enjoy family time and should be given regular breaks from the strenuous study schedule, When your child talks to you, try talking about something he/she likes. Engage in light-hearted conversations to reduce stress.
Alternate Study Spots
Children are active by nature and should be allowed to move around and study in different places and poses in the house. This helps to retain things better than sitting in a single room. Sitting at a stretch in one place may cause lethargy and a drop in memory.
Organize Their Daily Activities
Plan your children’s study schedule in a way that it becomes interesting and easy to comprehend. If the child has to cover two subjects in a day, club strong and weak, interesting and boring, easy and tough subjects together. Create a time chart that will allow you to see how your child spends his time from day to day with break times. Reward him/her for following even 70 per cent of the schedule.
Ensure Fun Activities
Ensure that your children have adequate physical activity throughout the day. They need to indulge in indoor or outdoor activities which refresh their minds. Sports improve sharpness and memory. So, help them to unwind in a way that he/she prefers. Let them be at ease and relax a bit.
Studying and television time should not be clubbed as it prevents proper retention of that is being read. However, do not cut oft TV time entirely, as they may take it as punishment. Just limit it to lesser time. Light instrumental music might aid studying.
Avoid Post Exam Blues
Any discussion post exam should be avoided. Exams should be forgotten after taking a small review of what can be done better next time. Instead of mulling over the expected results, utilize this time by taking a small family vacation to relax.
If parents still find that their child is facing emotional/mental stress, please seek help from professionals. Exam stress can take many forms. Minds can go blank or panic can set in at the very thought of exams. For others. depression may kick in after an exam is over. Do not ignore sudden changes in the mood, appetite or sleep pattern of your children. Do ensure that your child receives counselling.