By Sayeh Woodman — Tests and exams can be challenging part of school life for children and young people and their parents or carers. But there are ways to ease the stress. During exam season, children may worry lots, not sleep well, are irritable, and their moods can be rapid and varied. Having someone to talk with about his or her work can help. Support from a parent, tutor, or study buddy can help young people share their worries and keep things in perspective.
Encourage your child to talk to a member of school staff who they feel is supportive. If you feel your child isn’t coping, it may also be helpful for you to talk to their teachers at school.
Try to involve your child as much as possible. Make sure your child eats well. A balanced diet is vital for your child’s health, and can help them to feel well during exam periods.
Where possible, involve your child in shopping for food and encourage them to choose some healthy snacks.
Good sleep will improve thinking and concentration. Most teenagers need between 8 and 10 hours’ sleep a night. Allow half an hour or so for kids to wind down between studying, watching TV or using a computer and going to bed to help them get a good night’s sleep.
The night before revision is a no no! Sleep will benefit your child far more than a few hours of panicky last-minute study.
Remember if you’re calm then your child will be calm. Be flexible around exam time. When your child is reviewing all day, don’t worry about household jobs that are left undone or untidy bedrooms.
Make sure your child has somewhere comfortable to study. Try and motivate your child. Remind your child that feeling anxious is normal. Nervousness is a natural reaction to exams. The key is to put these nerves to positive use.
Exercise can help boost energy levels, clear the mind and relieve stress. It doesn’t matter what it is – walking, cycling, swimming, football and dancing are all effective.
Activities that involve other people can be particularly helpful.
Try to listen to your child, give support and avoid criticism. After each exam, encourage your child to talk it through with you.
Talk about the parts that went well rather than focusing on the questions they had difficulties with. Then move on and focus on the next test, rather than dwelling on things that can’t be changed.
Think through with your child some rewards for doing revision and getting through each exam.
Rewards don’t need to be big or expensive. They can include simple things like making their favourite meal.
When the exams are over, help your child celebrate by organising an end-of-exams treat.