How to help your child beat exam stress

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Research by the organisation Parent Kind found that 41% of children have experienced stress relating to homework and more than a third have exam-related stress – so you are not alone if your child is feeling the pressure of school work.

As a parent, it’s important to support your child in achieving their full potential. However, high expectations can cause young people to feel pressured, resulting in stress and possible mental health issues. Here are some of the ways you can help during exam season, plus the signs that things may be getting too much for your child.

How to help your child beat exam stress

Find a revision style that works for them:

We all have different learning styles – what works well for one child might not work well for another. Encourage your child to find a revision style and space that works for them. This may be somewhere quiet with no distractions, a communal area with background chatter, or in a library with their favourite music playing through their headphones.

Keep the whole family’s energy levels up:

It’s common for students during exam time to neglect their health and wellbeing needs. Prepare regular nutritious meals, encourage your young person to drink plenty of water and ensure they have a healthy sleep routine.

Integrate fun activities into their revision timetable:

Having a revision timetable is a really helpful way for your young person to keep on track. But ensure to schedule in relaxing and fun activities to help them combat revision fatigue.

Help with revision where you can:

Ensure your young person knows you are there to help them with revision if they need it. You could schedule in some time to ask them practise questions for each subject, which will help with memory and recall.

Stay positive:

Try to avoid high levels of stress in the house and stay positive. It will give your young person’s confidence a boost if they know that you believe in them.

Help to keep things in perspective:

Exams can feel all-encompassing and very overwhelming for young people. Success is not defined solely by exam results and they do not define your child. There are many routes to a bright future, no matter what their grades are. Helping your child to understand this can ease some of the pressure.

Practise self-care:

Model a healthy balance between work, play and rest for your young person. Revision is important, but it’s important to have a balance.

Talk about exam nerves:

Ask your child or young person about how they feel about their preparation and the exams. Remind them that it’s normal to feel anxious – this is a natural and completely normal reaction to exams. What’s important is that they put their nerves to positive use.

What help is available?

Your child’s school can offer help and will be well-versed in providing study support – just reach out and ask.

If you feel worried that your child is struggling with their mental health or becoming unwell, consider contacting your child’s GP for advice and signposting.

You can also access many helpful resources online via YoungMinds – a UK-based charity fighting for children and young people’s mental health.

YoungMinds Textline: Text YM to 85258 or access their resources and support online at www.youngminds.org.uk

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