Parents are the first role model in a child’s life. Kids try to follow them from very initial years of their life. In every stage of life, it’s the parents who are there with their kids to help them, motivate them and pick them when they fall.
Even in the exam time we know that parents play an important role, their attitude and behavior can impact considerably how their children will deal with the exam stress and tension. Children these days are under huge pressure to perform by their teachers, peers, and tutors etc. Home is the only place where they can find the solace and most of the time it happens in the home also they find tremendous pressure from their parents to perform well. In place of easing the pressure, they add to it. Kids are burdened with several expectations to perform well in the exams in this competitive world and this is the thing we call as exam stress.
Also comparing to the siblings mount up the pressure for the little kids. They have all the stress to perform well and get the good marks in the exams.
There are several signs that can be noticed like fear and anxiety during the exams, depression, insomnia, irregular sleeping patterns, loss of appetite, there is a decline in health, fights among siblings and friends and dip in performance.
The first aim is to help the kid in preventing the exam stress and if there is some helping him out in coping with it. There are several ways to do this like bringing some changes in your behavior, attitude, and environment of the child during the exam time.
Few tips are here to help your kid out
Start with understanding your child and his/her caliber
The very first thing is to not measure your kid’s capabilities with the common yardstick which this educational system or society has created. If your child doesn’t get out outstanding marks or higher ranks, it doesn’t mean he/she has failed as a person. They might have talents that are not really academics. Identify their potential and encourage them to pursue their interest not what that gives them stress.
Managing the expectations
Well, most of the kids suffer from “expectation stress” rather than exam stress. Their personal strengths and spirit to grow is weighed down by expectations that their parents have from them. Such expectations usually have grown from the society’s idea of success, i.e. academic success. Talk and tell your child that is absolutely fine if he/she doesn’t top the exams. It is totally okay!! if he/she is average in academics and excels in building his non-academic potential.
Just make your child believe that you are always there for him. Ensure him/her that whatever they will perform in the exam you will always love and support him/her. Show them the unconditional love you have for them and it doesn’t depend on the grades they achieve in the academics. This will make a huge difference in their level of self-confidence and it will boost their efforts for the studies.
Help your kid to know what’s within his control and what isn’t.
Results aren’t in the control of a person. Sometimes unforeseen circumstances occur which aren’t known and can’t be really controlled. Just lower down the burden of responsibilities from his/her shoulder. This will reduce the fear of the unknown and he/ she will be able to focus more and stress levels are dropped.
Suggest ways to get back to the basics.
If your kid has been already stressed for a long period of time, he/she is likely to develope some poor lifestyle habits in the way. Help him/her get back to a regular bedtime and routine. It helps to maintain a good sleep routine. Avoid TV and social media time an hour before bed. Make them eat regular, healthy meals throughout the day. These healthy lifestyle habits can go a long way to help your kid to handle stress more effectively.
Just try your kid to help in knowing that he/she still can indulge himself in the fun activities even in the exam time like playing their favorite instrument, painting, or just playing with the friends for a while. This will help in coping up the stress originated due to the exam and it also helps them in knowing that exams are the part of the normal life and shouldn’t be feared. It just provides a fantastic distraction from the stress.
Avoid micro level supervision
Don’t be cringy. Yes studies are really very important for the exams but they aren’t more important than your child’s well being. You can help them in making time tables and schedules but you need not to remind them every minute that they need to study. They need their own space. They know they are having exams they will study help them but don’t keep a sharp eye on them. Show them trust that they will study without your supervision.
Be attentive and flexible in terms of routine
Give high attention to your kid’s diet and make sure he/she is getting the required rest. Do not force him/her to follow a strict diet or sleeping pattern. Some kids feel good to study at night than day. Understand their needs and comfort zones while providing them with good support.
Create a studying methodology
Help them plan their studies in a way that it becomes an interesting exercise and easy to comprehend. If the child has to cover two subjects in a day, club strong and weak subjects, interesting and boring, easy and tough. After every hour of studying, encourage a 10 min break. By doing this the monotony breaks and the child is able to channelize efforts better.
Offer rewards and not punishments
Don’t threaten your child with the consequences of not studying. It is a common mistake most parents make in the exam time. When a kid studies to avoid the punishment, he/she will focus their energies on how not to get punished instead of studying. An alternate and much better way of encouraging studying is to offer meaningful rewards. Do not lure your kids with returns like money or gadgets. Instead, offer more productive gratification like trying a new adventure sport, an extension of playtime, etc.
Avoid post exam stress
At last exams are over and your child needs a sigh of relief. Prevent all type of questions related to result, totally avoid the what ifs, they will just stress him out to the deepest level. Help him out when your relatives and neighbors ask about the upcoming results. Don’t let him drown under the burden of expectations. In place of stressing over results just use this free time to relax and exploring new places, giving time to hobbies and in self-nurturing.
It’s important for both kids and parents to remember that it’s impossible to eliminate stress fully and in fact, stress plays quite an important role in our lives. If your kid is feeling no stress, then probably he/she is bored and has very little motivation to do anything at all.
Children who feel too much stress may experience some kind of back lag in their performance. Like forgetting everything in the exams, sweaty hands, nervousness, fever etc.
Although we can take all the precautions, still if your kid is feeling stress don’t wait much to seek professional help. Go for counseling sessions, make your child comfortable. Stretch a helping hand to him. Make sure he/she knows they are precious to you.