It’s exam season, and that usually means stress for everyone involved. For many of us parents, exams can be as stressful for us as they are for our kids. But us being stressed out over their exams isn’t going to help our kids at all.
What would help plenty is if we could help our kids manage their stress properly, to help them jump over that final hurdle before they can take a well-deserved break this year end. That definitely means not piling on the pressure, but rather, focusing on being encouraging and understanding during this period, and showing solidarity in the journey.
Here are five stress-busting tips that will help our kids get through the exams with a small smile on their faces!
1. Exercise to keep endorphins up and stress levels down
Make time for your child to get outdoors and break a sweat, yes even in the midst of studying. Experts all agree that just 15 to 20 minutes a day will go far to keep stress levels down.
Go for a brisk walk, slow jog, swim, jump on a trampoline, or even work out to a YouTube exercise video–the key thing is to keep the endorphins up! She may even find it easier to focus after the exercise session, a win-win indeed.
2. Take constant breaks
It’s never about putting in as many study hours as humanly possible. After all, it’s impossible to be productive after hours of staring at those books.
Remind your child to take frequent short breaks throughout the day while studying: grab a favourite drink and snack, read a book for a mental break, talk to a family member and have a laugh, listen to some music and have an impromptu karaoke session… These mini breaks are more important than you think they are!
3. Prepare the study space well
You know what they say about how the environment is a reflection of your headspace. Help your child clear those cobwebs out of his brain by literally helping to keep his study space clean, clutter-free, and pleasing.
Come up with systems with your child to keep his books, notes, and other study things properly, and teach him to keep his own space organised and clean. You can even shop with him for little decorative touches to enhance the aesthetics of his space and lift his spirits!
4. Come up with a study plan together
Coming up with a plan to conquer all the subjects together will help your child feel like you’ve got her back and are in this together with her. In fact, it’s important to let your child lead the way in planning her schedule so that she feels that she’s directing her own learning. As her parent, you can suggest how she can study more effectively and cover all her material well by breaking the days and weeks leading up to the exams into smaller study blocks, or checking through the list of topics with her and ensuring they’re scheduled in.
Help her manage her fears by asking her what she’s most worried about and spend extra time focusing on those, this will help her feel more confident going into the exams.
5. Prioritise rest and relaxation
In the weeks before the exam, do your child a favour and clear his schedule of any heavy commitments so that he can focus on studying and get plenty of rest in his downtime. Protecting his nighttime sleep is important, but so is teaching him techniques to calm himself down during the day when he’s getting stressed out from all the studying.
Deep breathing, visualisation and practising mindfulness can all help him release some of the anxiety that comes with the territory, and it’s your job as his parent to teach him these calming techniques that will put him in the best headspace to ace the exams without getting burnt out.