Exam season is upon us again, and it goes without saying that exams can be stressful. Everybody has to take exams at some point in their life, yet we all react and cope with them slightly differently. If you are concerned that your child is not handling their exams well, and they are showing signs of stress and anxiety, Tinkerer is here to support you and your child through these crucial times.

Be Aware of Stress Signs

First thing first, as a parent or guardian, you need to be aware of and able to recognise stress and anxiety. These might manifest as:

  • Feeling unwell
  • Worrying about the future
  • Excessive worrying about the exams
  • Struggling to sleep
  • Not eating
  • Being unable to enjoy anything

 

Things You Should Do

Now you know how to identify stress in your child let’s look at preventative and supportive measures you can take to help them.

Sleep

‘The more they study, the better they will do.’ This sentiment is not always correct. The most important things for your child are that they are rested. If their brain doesn’t get enough sleep then they won’t be able to function, they won’t be able to process the things they are revising, and they won’t be able to learn new things. Remember, children need more sleep than most adults, so getting 7 hours might not be enough for your child. The National Sleep Foundation recommends preschoolers (3-5) get around 10-13 hours of sleep a night. Primary aged children (6-13) should get around 9-11 hours of sleep. Being aware of their sleeping patterns can also help you to identify if they are feeling stressed and worried; struggling to sleep can be an indicator of stress.

Support

Try not to add extra pressure to the situation. Your child will want to do their best and make you proud. Instead of making them worry about the exams even more, make sure that they feel supported and reassure them that as long as they try their best, you will be happy. Try to avoid critical comments.

Talk 

Not talking about stress and anxiety can make it worse. Let your child know you are there to help them. If they don’t want to talk to you, just writing their worries down can help, even if no one sees it. They can write or draw their concerns down then throw the paper away.

Relax and Refresh

Plan for treats and breaks. This can help relieve stress if it takes their mind off the exams for a while. Having a break from studying could be playing a game or doing a hobby. Even better, if it is an activity that gets them outside and active. Exercise has been shown to boost positive moods, and this can make people more productive. Doing something that is not related to the exam will help them to relax and stress less, and in turn, may improve their performance in the exam.

Find Their Style

People learn in different ways, audio, visual or by doing, to learn effectively, they should find which method works best for them. They might learn better when working with friends, a tutor or by themselves. Not every style of learning is useful for every child.

Things Your Child Should Do

Sleep– get a good night’s sleep and don’t cram last minute.

Eat– have a good breakfast before the exam to get brain fuel.

Revise and Plan– to feel more confident they should have good study habits that are easy to follow.

Relax– this could be drawing, listening to music, watching TV, playing a game or a favourite hobby.

Comparison– never judge their abilities against peers and siblings.

 

We hope that this advice is useful for you and your child and that they do well on their exams to become future Scientists, Technologists, Engineers, Artist or Mathematicians.

 

Information for this blog has been researched by reputable organisations, such as childline, nhs, and times higher education.

 

Written by,

Rebecca Clifton

 

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