Exam season is on us again!
Watching your child sweat over exams can stress out the whole family so Dad.info asked Fegans’ Counsellor Vicky Bellman for her top parenting tips for helping with exam-related stress:
1. Keep It In Perspective
Exams are important but not the end of the world: there’s almost always another chance.
Help manage their expectations.
Working every minute of the day, or expecting grades significantly higher than their capabilities, is bad for your teen’s well-being.
2. Encourage Good Work Habits
Working for 35-45 minutes at a time is enough. Then take a 10-15-minute break.
Step away from screens, getting some fresh air, stretching their legs, and having a hydration break will all be useful ways to increase their work efficiency, and general wellbeing.
3. Remember The Building Blocks
Again, when it comes to the real basics, our children (and us) can forget the vital need for our emotional wellbeing building blocks. Make sure that your child is getting enough good food, enough water, and enough sleep.
4. Free Time Isn’t Laziness
It’s a difficult balancing act, but structured studying has to be balanced with unstructured free time.
A useful analogy to share with them is that human beings are basically machines. We need fuel, and we also need to switch our engine off every now and again.
Otherwise, we risk overheating!
On any long-term journey in a machine, comfort breaks and fuel fill ups would be an accepted and necessary part of the journey. Humans are no different.
5. Avoid Stimulants
We often see a rise in the use of energy drinks, caffeine tablets, and other stimulants at this time of year. However, this can have a counter-productive effect on studying, as it can interrupt their concentration and energy levels, and also inhibit sleep; not to mention their digestive health (and feeling uncomfortable during revision and exams is definitely not helpful).
6. Make Time for Your Own Self Care
You can’t pour from an empty cup. Your children need more from you at this time, for sure, but to be able to give more you need to be able to have more fuel in the tank.
7. Connection Is Important
When possible, also find ways to invite them into the family social life; perhaps, watching a movie one night with popcorn, or going for a family walk, or a coffee break together. Or how about all going out for dinner? Don’t just save the treats for the results, as this reinforces that they have more value when they achieve more. Let them know that their well-being and enjoyment of life is still important when they’re striving for success, as well as when they’re achieving it.
More support for young people’s emotional wellbeing including articles on anxiety and depression can be found at www.fegans.org.uk/headspace.