For many children, examinations are a nightmare. Children fear that they will disappoint their parents and lose the respect of their peers if they do badly in a subject. Faced with such pressure, stress has become increasingly common amongst young children.
Here are some things which we as parents can do to help our children not only survive, but maybe even thrive during their exams.
Don’t Add to Their Stress
The first thing that anybody can do for someone who is under stress is to reduce the burden or work load of the stressed individual.
Children have less experience in dealing with stressful situations and may not be familiar with how to manage or express their burden adequately. Therefore as a parent, it is important that you are able to tell if your child is under too much pressure.
Parents should try to have realistic expectations of their children and avoid becoming another source of pressure for their children. Encourage and assure your children. Let them know that it is normal to feel nervous and teach them to remain composed and focused during stressful periods.
Encourage Them to Take Regular Breaks
Most parents restrict their children from watching television, using their phones, playing video games or hanging out with friends whenever exams draw near. However, a child’s need for social interaction and recreation should be taken seriously. Having your children mull over textbooks and assessments for long periods of time will hurt their ability to focus, concentrate and retain information.
Work with your children to create a schedule and stick to it instead. Set time aside for play and recreation so that your children can unwind, de-stress and and recharge.
Help Them to Create a Study Schedule
Don’t try to create a schedule and expect your children to follow it. Instead, let your children draw up their own schedule and take an active part in assisting them or providing them with a proper structure.
Externally imposed rules and restrictions will create additional pressure. It will be hard for your children to stick to a routine if it does not feel natural or comfortable to them. Give your children the freedom to choose their own hours to revise and study. Limit yourself to observing their decisions closely and correcting them only when necessary.
Avoid the “Exam Dissection”
Many children dread not only exam itself, but the after effects of an exam. Not all children come out of exams confident, especially after sitting for a subject they know they are weak at. Many questions may run through a child’s mind after the paper, “What if I answered the last question wrong? What if I fail my paper?”
As parents, we should not be too quick to criticise our children for their lack of confidence. Instead assure them that what is done has been done and that worrying will not help things. Help them relax and prepare for the next paper instead of dwelling on mistakes that they cannot change.
Learn to recognise signs of stress in your child and work to help them manage it.
Examinations are already stressful enough by themselves. Do not add unwanted pressure on your children or push them beyond their limits.
Help your children recharge their energy levels. Spending long hours studying will only tire them instead of helping them. Allow them to take short breaks, such as watching their favourite television programme or taking a walk, to unwind and to calm down.