How Parents Can Stay Sane During Exam Periods
Admit it or not, parents get stressed as much as students do when exam period draws near. Arranging for tuition, taking note of the exam schedule, and making sure that the child is eating and sleeping right are just some of the concerns on every parent’s mind during this time.
The first step toward a less cortisol-inducing exam period is to recognise that stress impacts everyone in the family—not just the student. Think about it, your child now has to review the lessons that will be covered in the test and make sure that they have understood all the important points. If they are pining for a particular grade in order to catch up on their class standing, that can be a major stressor, as well. On top of that, they are also concerned about making their parents proud, even if they don’t show it as much.
Children may experience moodiness, lack of focus, sleep disturbances, and loss of appetite. Parents need to watch out for these signs and intervene appropriately. This means that parents need to get their stress levels under control, as well.
So when you begin to feel anxious, irritable, or easily frustrated, take a step back and breathe. You wouldn’t want your child to bear the brunt of your bad mood. They have a lot on their plate already. Acknowledge that the stress may be getting the best of you and now is the perfect time to relax and recalibrate.
Here are some tips to help parents can ease the pressure upon themselves and, in turn, avoid passing it on to their child.
Prepare and Set Goals
One of the best ways to deal with stress is to prepare. When you know that exam season is coming up, have a conversation with your child on their revision timetable and ask them if they need help crafting it. Let your child know that you trust them with this task to give them that much-needed confidence boost. It will also make them feel responsible for their own learning, and they would, thus, adhere to their own schedule better.
If you need to help craft the revision schedule, make sure your child is involved. Ask their opinion on which topics should they review first and which ones they’ve already mastered and can, thus, be revised later.
It will also be beneficial to set daily learning goals. For instance, group the topics to be covered for each subject and set a target for when your child should be done reviewing these lessons. It will help you and your child map out what needs to be done beforehand to make sure no topic is left out. Moreover, inquiring about whether your child achieved a daily goal, ask non-confrontational questions like, “How did your revision go today?” or “What were you able to cover?”
Remember You’re In It Together
Be reminded that you and your child are in it together. As much as you want to be the superhero parent and do everything for your child, exams are just one of the things they have to do on their own. Parents are there to guide, support, and motivate the child so they can perform at their best. Trust that your child is doing what they can to do well in their exams, especially if they are not showing signs of rebelliousness or lack of interest in school. Learning to trust that you and your child are doing what you can to get good results will take the pressure off you and your child.
Take Short Breaks with Your Child
Now that you have a revision timetable, it’s easier to see where you are and how much more needs to be covered. With that, you can also factor in the short breaks that your child needs in order to stay focused and motivated. Let your child try studying in blocks of 20-30 minutes and take 5 minute breaks in between. They can stand up and do some stretching, grab a drink or snack, or tidy up—anything that can give their thinking mind a break.
Exercise and Eat Healthy
Exercise or any physical activity can aid in lowering your stress levels because it increases your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins. Regular exercise can also improve your mood and help you relax, which is perfect as you get closer and closer to the exam dates. Parents may also want to consider stress-reducing foods to aid in alleviating the anxiety levels in the household. Refrain from consuming too much caffeine because it might lead to over stimulation, which can cause stress. It would also be a good idea to stay away from fast food and
Have a Little “Me time”
They say that in order to give your best, you have to feel your best. Oftentimes, parents are reluctant to take a little “Me time” for fear of not getting things done or worse, some disaster will strike while they are away. These are all valid concerns. However, if parents don’t spend some time pampering themselves, doing things they enjoy, or having just 10 minutes of quiet time, sooner or later it will take a toll on their well-being.
Try going for a walk or taking 5 minutes longer in the bathroom to do your skincare routine. You could also get up 15-20 minutes earlier than the rest of the family to be able to meditate or do yoga.
Go to a Trusted Tuition Center
Knowing that your child is in good hands is the best stress-reliever. Look for a tuition centre that boasts of experienced educators and effective learning plans that won’t break the bank. Seek the help of high quality teachers to prepare your child for their exams, especially if your child is having difficulty mastering the concepts. Most tuition centres distribute worksheets for your child to practice on. Interaction with other students can also help relieve the stress of upcoming exams because they know they are not alone. As parents, you will also have peace of mind knowing that experts are there to help.
Exam periods can tough on both the parent and child. While there’s no magic formula that will make this phase a breeze, there are a few things that parents can do to make it more pleasant, yet productive. If you have young children, then you’ll go through many more exam periods and the sooner you get into a healthy routine with your child, the better it will be in the long run. Remember that the child feels the same stress and pressure as you do, so make sure that you, as a parent, are keeping everything under control.