With the exam season upon us – stress, anxiety,restlessness are bound to be common emotions around the house.
But there are ways to ease these emotions and support your child during the stressful lead up to a major exam.
Identify exam stress early
Look out for warning signs that your child or teenager is stressed or suffering from anxiety. Some common signs of stress include:
- sleep disturbances
- erratic or poor eating (skipped meals, picking at the food on their plate, etc)
- low mood
- low confidence
- frustration or anger
- queasy tummies, headaches and flaring up of skin conditions such as eczema.
Make sure you child eats well
A balanced diet is vital for your child’s health and can help them feel active and well during exam time.
While high-fat, high-sugar and high-caffeine foods and drinks seem very tempting, avoid the colas and sweets, these foods tend to make children irritable and moody. Opt for healthy and nutritional options around the house to satiate their late night hunger pangs.
Fruits & Vegetables are rich in fibre and have all the essential vitamins and minerals that are needed to boost your child’s body and mind. You can make up an interesting salad with fruits, veggies, and nuts.
Yoghurt is rich calcium and protein and increases mental alertness. If they don’t want to eat it plain, make some buttermilk or lassi.
Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish, mustard oil, mustard seeds, methi, urad dal, rajma, soybeans, lobia, walnuts, bajra,flaxseeds (alsi) are good for the brain and to enhance memory.
Make sure child gets enough sleep
Most teenagers need anything between 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night. While everyone loves the panicky last-minute study plan, cramming all night before an exam is usually unfruitful. Lack of sleep will make last-minute bits of information more difficult to recall.
They might disapprove of having you monitor their sleep patterns, but stress upon the fact that good sleep will improve thinking and concentration.
Stay calm and positive yourself
Parents need to be flexible around exam time. When your child is revising all day, don’t worry about household jobs that are left undone or untidy bedrooms. Be around for any help your child may need – even if you don’t understand the subject. Maybe they just want to rattle off a theory they just understood or walk you through something they have been trying to put logic too.
Staying calm and positive yourself can help. Remember, exams don’t last forever.
Encourage free time during the exam
Insist that they unwind between study time. Exercise, watch TV, deep breathing, talk to someone, listen to music, walk around the house or just about do anything which is remotely distant from books, syllabuses and examinations. This can help boost energy levels, refresh the mind and relieve stress.
Make sure they drink enough water
In between study schedules and helping friends on the telephone,
Having a jug of water with mint leaves available on the study table is a great idea.Water keeps one hydrated, aids digestion, boosts immunity and memory and keeps the body systems regulated.
Make sure to cut out the other stress
The lengthy syllabus already has them irritable, depressed, loosing sleep and appetite- ensure the environment isn’t adding anything more.
- Plan to leave home well in time and not be late/stuck in a traffic jam before the exam
- Ensure Uniform, Stationery Kits and everything they need are in order.Everything they need should be close at hand so they don’t have to spend time searching for things.
- Avoid too many guests at home, this can hamper study schedules
- Avoid asking the ‘Are you well prepared’, ‘How many more chapters to go?’ questions. These add to stress and anxiety levels for the child
- Ask how each exam goes, but don’t push them to talk about it if they don’t want to. Sometimes it’s best not to dwell on these things, but just move on.
Tell them not to fear failure
Your child can feel like if they don’t succeed at this or get the highest score in the class, it means their whole life is a failure.
Failure (or not getting exactly what you want) is a normal part of life.Help them be positive during this period.A quick ‘summary’ conversation at the end of the day in which you give positive feedback can also work wonders, as it’ll show that your child’s hard work is being recognized.
Because, as long as they have put their best foot forward ( irrespective of the results) it is success in your eyes.
As part of a campaign to urge parents help their kids cope, the video, titled #ReleaseThePressure, is an open letter to parents by their children.
Watch the video here: