First Aid for Exam Stress
The Christmas holidays and the start of the new year are usually filled with fun and joyful activities for the whole family. But for many, it's also a time when children have to study for their exams. Whether your son or daughter loves to hit the books or is distracted by the slightest movement or sound, exam stress can hit when you least expect it. At KidsLife, we have some handy first-aid tips we'd like to share with you to help avoid exam stress.
Maybe running after your child with a timer during the entire exam period is a bit too much, but you can help you children by giving them at least some routine. For instance, it's always a good idea to eat around the same time every day and to be a little stricter when it comes to bedtime. This isn't as easy as it seems: just try to get your 22-year-old in bed on time. But even the smallest routines can be a big help.
This is something you read everywhere! Good planning when studying is crucial. Try to support your son or daughter as much as possible without constantly checking up on their every move. If you do, your intentions could backfire completely. Also make sure the exam planning is realistic! A schedule where, by day two, you already need an additional day to catch up on all your targets is way too ambitious.
Healthy eating habits
Yes! This is where you, as a parent, can really make a difference. Try studying on an empty stomach or cramming on junk food. It doesn't work! Make sure your child gets enough vitamins and power food, such as nuts and fruit. Coffee certainly helps to give a boost, but don't overdo it and make sure to also drink plenty of water. Be careful with heavy meals or lots of food if you're still planning to study after dinner. Digesting the food will take up all of your brain's attention and you will no longer be able to focus on the subject matter.
Take an active break
Another classic! Watching a Netflix series or catching up with friends on Facebook may sound like the most fun, but it's important to be active when on a break. A walk around the block or playing with your pet can do wonders.
By the way, don't just limit the movement to the breaks. Have you ever read a textbook while walking around? Or have you practised maths formulas while standing up? Give it a try. You'll be surprised!
Less distraction - Find somewhere quiet
Every child studies best in his or her own way. A quiet environment is very important, but is different for every person. Maybe you prefer to study on your own with headphones on, or in a large group in a quiet environment. Make sure your child has somewhere where he or she can relax and feel comfortable.
A handy way to help your child feel more confident before exams is to test their knowledge by asking questions that could possibly also be in the exam. Don't simply see it as an evaluation method! It's also an opportunity to go through some of the more complicated topics from class again or to find ways to make the answers stick. In a way, these tests are also a great way to actually study together with your child.
Take the opportunity to talk and listen to your child about any tension or uncertainties
It may be that your son or daughter simply can't see the positive side any more. If so, it's important to listen to their insecurities and problems. Unable to figure it out yourself? There are several organisations that can help you and can support your child, such as Teleblok, the free chat line of CM Health Fund.
Plenty of sleep
We all need sleep, that's common knowledge. But getting enough sleep during exam week is particularly important. While sleeping at night, the brain can start processing all the experiences of the day. So, after studying for hours on end, your brain has certainly scheduled in some processing time.
Of course, walking into an exam feeling well rested is much better than with your eyes still half-closed.
Don't set the bar too high
Want a good grade? Yes, please! But don't create unnecessary stress because you expect too much from your child. This not only gives them a sense of insecurity, it also leaves your child feeling very disillusioned if their grades are below expectations. The commitment and willingness to work are at least as important here as the grades themselves.
If your son or daughter has reached adult age and no longer sees the point of continuing their studies, please contact your KidsLife consultant. Our experts can give you options to ensure you don't lose your entitlement to Child Benefits and the Growth Package. Click here to see what you need to do if the studying stops.