We are nearing that time of the year when children start gearing up for their exams. Preparing for an examination can be stressful for children, but the right guidance from parents can help them perform well.
If you think that exam stress is bad for your children. Think again.
In life, there is good stress and bad stress. Stress can be good for students during exams. The students who perform well in their exams are not the ones who are stress-free, but the ones who are able to identify their stress, and control & manage it to their advantage.
In absence of stress, students tend to be less motivated to work hard. But by directing it in a positive way, they stay focus, work hard and perform to an optimum level.
However, for many students it is hard to cope and manage stress, and ultimately it overwhelms them. They find it hard to focus even on small things, and a minor incident can trigger emotional breakdowns and anxiety.
This is where parents should step-in to help their children cope with their exam stress issues.
How to help children cope with exam stress
Parents have a big role to play in their children’s life. They can help their kids by being vigilant & aware of their behaviour, especially during the time they prepare for their major exams.
Parents alongwith teachers should help students understand that succeeding in exams is a process, and that it takes hard work, time and patience to achieve certain goals. During their preparatory holidays, parents can help their children plan their day and manage their workload accordingly.
An open dialogue help children express their feelings effectively. Parents should be empathetic and have an open mind while communicating with children to assess their problems & potential, and accordingly, plan ahead. Branding kids as failure does not help them at all, especially with their self-esteem and this route can only take a downward spiral.
How to help your children study for an exam
First of all, lets make it clear that helping does not mean dictating. One method might work for you or someone else, but it is not necessary that it will work with everyone. That being said, following are a few general tips/outlines, which can help you help your kids.
Seven ways you can help children prepare for an exam
1. Plan ahead - Preparation for a major exam should start weeks before the big day. Help your children plan their days optimally, with plenty of time for revision. Arrange all the stationary requirements beforehand, and if possible, buy the kind of things that your kids might have wanted and enjoys.
2. Have a study space - Create a space for your children to study, which is relatively quiet and away from the family noise. If your children share a room, alternative space can be arranged until the exams are over.
3. Support them emotionally & build their confidence - Exams can be stressful for your children, and this is the time when parents have to be extra supportive, even if children are being difficult. Their behaviour and actions can suggest a lot about their stress levels. Always reaffirm the thought that you believe in them, and encourage them to ‘have a go’. Be positive in providing feedback for their efforts and celebrate success.
4. Take regular breaks - Making your kid study for long hours is not at all helpful. The brain needs to rest and recharge before it can take in some more. Regular breaks, with some healthy snack can provide the necessary energy.
5. Study buddies - If studying in a group is of any help for your kid, plan for group study sessions at appropriate times with friends.
6. Help them revise - Revision always help to retain more information. You can help your kids to revise what they have studied, and help them to structure their answers.
7. Help your kid have clear expectations - Provide a walk through of the exam and suggest them ways to control and manage anxiety and panic attacks, if any, during their exam. Discuss questions from previous years and help them comprehend what they should expect in the exam.
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