8 Useful Tips To Help Your Child Deal With Exam Stress

Written by MomJunction
Last Updated on

As adults, many things can lead to stress in our lives. But, what about the children? What stress do they have to deal with? Well, possibly the only thing that causes undue stress in a child’s life is examinations. The 11-letter word can make even the brightest and most optimistic of kids worried. And as a parent, you need to help your little one overcome this undue stress. So, if you are one of those parents who is witnessing her child go through the common signs of exam stress, it is important to take the necessary steps that will help ease the anxiety.

Read our post below on how to deal with exam stress and learn just how you can help your little one ease any undue stress of the examination.

Tips To Help You Deal With Exam Stress In Children:

Here are a few tips that will help you identify whether or not your child is stressed due to the exams and will help you cope with it:

1. Spot The Signs Of Stress Around Exam Time:

  • As the parent, you know your child’s responses and regular behavior, so it will be a little easier for you to spot any change in regular attitude. When your child is stressed, you will notice there is a difference in how your child behaves. Spot the common signs and symptoms of stress through your child’s everyday behavior.
  • Some of the most common exam stress symptoms are being irritable, not eating properly or suddenly eating more than regular, looking or sounding worried, not being able to pay attention, sound depressed and talk in a way that is self-deprecatory, frequent pain in the stomach and headaches and irregular sleep patterns, such as not being able to sleep or sleeping too much.
  • If you notice any of the above signs in your child, especially in and around exam time, make sure you try something that will help to ease exam anxiety. Often, talking to your child and understanding their fears and concerns can help reduce the level of examination stress they are going through. If the stress seems to be interfering with your child’s routine, you could also speak to the school counselor.

    [ Read: How To Manage Child Stress ]

2. Make Sure Your Child Eats Properly:

  • When your child is stressed, they may hardly show any interest towards having food, or may suddenly crave a lot of junk food that will help give them an emotional boost. However, it is important to make sure that your child eats healthy instead of starving or having food that is bad for health.
  • Make sure that your child eats a healthy and well-balanced meal at home instead of relying on foods bought at the store or packaged meals. A well-balanced meal will give your child all the nutrients they need and will help to give them the right energy, focus and positivity that they need especially during their exams.
  • Eating foods that are high in their sugar, salt or fat content can make your child feel hyperactive and, as a result, your child will not be able to concentrate well on studies. Also, eating foods that are high in fat or are fried will have a negative effect on your child and make them moody and more irritable.
  • Instead of such foods, encourage your child to eat foods such as fresh vegetables and fruits, homemade smoothies, soups and salads in addition to well-rounded meals. This will help them to beat exam stress.

3. Help Your Child Get Adequate Sleep:

  • Stress can play havoc with your child’s sleep pattern and make it difficult for your child to fall asleep and even stay asleep. It can also have an entirely opposite effect on your child, where, if your child is stressed, they may want to sleep all the time and not want to get out of bed at all, sometimes for the entire day.
  • Sleeping the right number of hours means that your child does not sleep too less than is recommended nor too long than what is recommended. A good sleep cycle should ideally be at least eight hours of restful sleep at night, where your child can sleep peacefully without being disturbed or without waking up.
  • Sleeping for the right number of hours will have a huge impact on your child’s concentration levels, and they will be able to focus more and also absorb more of what they are learning for the exams.
  • To help your child get ready for bedtime, make sure that you ask them to switch off from studies for at least an hour or two before they plan to get to bed. Do not leave last minute exam preparations for the night before the exam, as it will make your child feel more stressed out and will also cause disturbances in their sleep pattern.
  • You can ask your child to relax by doing something that they enjoy doing and finish off preferably an hour before they go to bed. Your child can read, draw, listen to music, play a little video game, watch some television, go out for a walk or run or even help you cook up the dinner if that is something your child is interested in. The idea is to make your child do things that will help to reduce stress and make them feel more in control and relaxed so that they can sleep better.

[ Read: Relaxation Exercises for children ]

4. Stay Calm Yourself And Do Not Panic:

  • As a parent, you know all that your child has prepared for the exam, and you will also know the areas where your child is weak.
  • While this is certainly a good thing because it will help you help your child better, it can also be a bad thing if you start getting stressed yourself.
  • Understand that it is important for your child to retain whatever they have learned till now and apply the same in their exam, instead of trying to learn lot more at the last minute and make a mess.
  • Once you show signs of panic, it will have a negative impact on your child’s behavior too. Children are very sensitive to how their parents react and are extremely observant. It means that the moment you show any signs of stress, your child will relate it to the exam situation and start getting stressed themselves.
  • Instead of worrying too much about it, help yourself relax along with your child. Do something that you both enjoy doing together, such as relaxing on the porch, going out for a walk or a nice drive before bedtime, cooking a meal together, reading out loud, listening to music or anything that you feel will help to reduce anxiety during exams.
  • When you are not stressed, you will be able to take care of your child and resolve any stress issues that they may be going through.

[ Read: Homework Help For Kids ]

5. Help Your Child To Revise Before The Exam:

  • It is important for your child to revise whatever he has learned till now so that he can apply it properly during exam time.
  • As a parent, you will have to make sure that your child gets the time and the space to sit down and revise properly.
  • Create a quiet nook in the house where your child can sit down and go through all the study notes that are a part of the exam. If required, sit down with your child and help them go through all the notes together.
  • It is only natural that your child may have some last minute confusion or last minute queries that they forgot to clarify earlier. Do not get angry, or panic, and certainly do not get stressed out in front of your child. If your child comes up with a problem at the last minute, see how you can best find ways to deal with exam stress.

6. Make An Every Day Studying A Habit Instead Of Last Minute Cramming:

  • To make sure that your child can perform well in the exams without getting affected by stress, you have to get them in a routine from the start.
  • Instead of making your child cram through study notes and finish assignments at the last minute in the preparation of the exams, go to a routine that is more stable and regular.
  • Encourage your child to have a fixed study time each day so that they can cover all their subjects well in advance. Also, being in a routine of studying every day will help your child concentrate better, and it will not be difficult to sit through notes just when exams are around the corner.
  • Depending on your child’s age and how much study material your child will have to cover in a given academic year, make sure to draw up a timetable and keep it practical.
  • While drawing up the timetable, keep time for your child to be able to indulge in play and other activities. Also, make a timetable that you know your child will be able to follow through and not something that will not work out in the long run. Keep certain options of flexibility in the timetable so that your child can add or remove some parts as and when required.

[ Read: Breathing Exercises For Kids ]

7. Talk To Your Child About Fears And Expectations:

  • Often, if you talk to your child about their stress and worries, it will help them overcome the same by sharing with you.
  • Sit down with your child and tell them that you have noticed that there is something that is bothering them. Make sure to keep your tone light and friendly as well as loving and concerned. Your child should not feel threatened by your tone or feel that telling you about their fears can make you angry, as they will not discuss their true worries with you in that case.
  • Ask your child about what is bothering them and why it is so. Ask them about what is going on at school and how well do they think they have prepared for the exam. If your child tells you that they are not prepared for the exam and are worried that they may not pass the same, tell them that you can still try and do some damage control.
  • Tell your child that instead of worrying about what they do not know for that particular exam, they should try and focus more on what they do know and learn it better. Help your child understand that even though you want them to do well in their exams, you will also be supportive if your child is not able to do well in a particular exam.
  • Once your child sees that you are supportive and are trying to help, it will ease their stress, and they will be able to study and revise better. Point out the current situation to your child and tell them that they should take this exam time as a learning experience for later months and be better prepared for the next exam.

8. Teach Your Child The Right Way To Revise:

  • While it is true that you will encourage your child to revise and go through the notes before the exam, simply reading out the notes will not be the best way to remember each and every thing.
  • In order to retain all that your child is studying, they need to do some active revision instead of simply going through their notes. While reading notes is also a good idea, it is not always the most effective. Instead of only reading out the notes, tell your child to write out whatever they are reading.
  • Ask your child to sit with the notes as well as a blank notebook. Once they read through the notes, they should close the same and write it down from memory in the notebook. Ask him to match then it with the notes and see how correct or wrong he is. It will give your child an idea of how much he has learned and how much more should he practice.

Exam time can be stressful for both you and your child but trying these few exam anxiety tips can help minimize stress and make study time more effective.

Moms, how do you ensure your child is stress-free during exams? Do share your valuable exam stress tips here so that it can help other moms and their children too.

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