The thought of having to sit for an exam may evoke feelings of dread in any child. However, this does not have to be the case at all! There are things you can do to support your child during the stressful examination periods. As a parent, you can certainly play a pivotal role in helping your child cope with exam stress.
You might already be hiring tutors to support your child’s studies, or getting them quality assessment books and exam papers to practise. You might also be pulling out all the stops to ensure that your child eats well and gets sufficient sleep. On the day of their exams, you might remind them to double-check their stationery, prepare a nutritious breakfast for them in the morning, and make sure that they are not late for their exams. These are all great ways to support your child! On top of these, here are other practical tips which you may find useful:
- Speak to your child’s teachers
Your child’s school teachers would be more than happy to help you to support your child. You could, for instance, ask about the syllabus and what is being tested in the examinations. This is a good first step as knowing what to expect allows you to better support your child in their revision. You could also check with the teachers on the areas in which your child needs the most help with, so that you can help them study more effectively. You can then help them revise better with our range of assessment books for primary and secondary levels as well. While this is useful for getting direct information and tips, do also keep in mind that teachers need a break from work too—it is best to be courteous and to only contact them during work hours.
2. Provide emotional support
Emotional support is essential as it helps your child appropriately handle the anxiety that often comes with the exams. Simply asking them how they feel can allow them to better process their emotions, some of which they might not be aware of otherwise. Having a chat with them is also a good way to reassure them and show some care and concern.
It is important to also remind them that their exam results do not define their self-worth. Reassure them that while exams are important, the outcome does not affect their value as a person — as long as they have put in their best effort, you would still be proud of them.
Be positive when speaking with your child. When encouraging them to study, a positive statement like “It is good to prepare for your exams because you will feel much more confident” is better than “You might fail or get bad grades if you do not prepare well for your exams.” By framing sentences in this manner, it helps your child to feel more motivated and optimistic about the challenges ahead.
3. Be more flexible
Your child will be very busy revising and preparing for their exams, so it is unavoidable that they may have less time for other things. If they usually help out with chores, be flexible and let them take time off their household duties once in a while. If they have been studying for long periods of time, encourage them to go for breaks. Avoid criticising or nagging them too often as this could cause them to lose focus and add to their stress. Remember that your child may already be facing a lot of pressure to do well during their exams. The best that we can do as loving parents is to show them support during this time.
4. Encourage fun activities
Allow your child to take some time off from exam preparation by letting them engage in their hobbies and favourite activities. Relaxation techniques like deep breathing, listening to calming music, and stretching during study breaks can be helpful as well. Exercise is also very effective for relieving stress. Even a simple walk around the block can let them get their minds off the exams preparations for a while, allowing them to feel more relaxed.
Examinations are undoubtedly one of the most stressful periods for any school-going child. It might seem like an insurmountable challenge especially in the weeks leading up to the exam period. During this time, it is more important than ever that you show your support so that your child does not feel alone. Support can come in many forms, such as creating a conducive environment for them to study, taking care of their meals, and giving them emotional support. Implement these suggestions above and your child will see that exam periods are not all doom and gloom after all!