Students naturally find exams to be a source of added stress, and this stress can easily spread to parents. Raising a teenager contributes a healthy load of tension to the family dynamic. That tension grows greater when kids are preparing for exams. All too many parents have discovered that some of their attempts to support their children in this challenging time can be counter-productive.
With exam season gearing up for kids of all ages, we’ve taken this opportunity to assemble a collection of effective and reasonable parenting tips for exam time.
1) Give Passes On Small Responsibilities
During exams and during the frantic preparations that precede them, cut your teenagers some slack on their ordinary household responsibilities. Chores might not get done. Rooms might be messier than you usually like them. Keep your priorities straight and accept a little slack while your children concentrate on bigger issues.
Many parents find themselves automatically reverting to nagging and hectoring during exam season. This is a perfect time to ease off on your kids’ household chores so that they’re free to dedicate more time to studying.
Don’t let these acts of charity pass unnoticed, though. Remind your children that this is a temporary bit of liberty. It’s entirely reasonable to expect your kids to “catch up” on cleaning and other responsibilities once their exams are complete. Make sure they know this, and don’t let them slide so far that they’ll have to spend their entire summer making up for missed chores!
2) Discuss Exam Anxiety With Your Children
Past experience might make you hesitant, but it’s important to make yourself available when your children are ready to talk about their exam situation. Gauge their mood carefully. How pressured do your kids feel? Do they consider certain results to be absolutely required? Let them know that this sort of performance anxiety is completely normal. Build up their confidence by reminding them of how hard they’ve worked to master their material. You may also want to point them toward our student tips on managing exam stress.
3) Make Space In Kids’ Schedules For Exercise
The drive to excel can be overpowering when your teen children are preparing for their exams. You may think conditions are ideal if your kids drive themselves to study past work and textbooks relentlessly. Be careful, though! Reducing their lives to an unending cycle of sleep-eat-study can be counter-productive for students.
Physical activity helps to elevate a student’s mood by encouraging the release of endorphins. These chemicals have a potent relaxing effect and can work wonders at easing the stress of exam preparations. Step up as a parent by encouraging more exercise during exam time. Make yourself available to shuttle your kids to sports activities or offer to cover the financial costs of regular trips to the gym. Collaborate with your kids in building a balanced study schedule; make sure they’re taking regular breaks to do something physically engaging.
4) Safeguard Their Health And Nutrition
You can do more good work to keep your kids’ lives in balance during exam prep time. Take the initiative to suggest regular breaks for de-stressing and chilling out, and do what you can to keep their diet healthy. Don’t let your children study for hours on end, surviving on a diet of “at the desk” snacks and heavily-caffeinated drinks. You don’t want to let your kids ruin their health and find themselves under the weather when exam time finally comes.
5) Make Your Expectations Clear
Exams play a huge role in charting out the course of your children’s future, both academic and professional. It’s only natural for you to want them to excel. Make sure you’re not overloading your kids with your own burdensome expectations, though; this can multiply the level of stress teens experience leading up to exams. Remember that the vast majority of students hold themselves to very high standards without external expectations. Loading your children down with extra pressure and sky-high performance demands can do more harm than good. If they feel they need help then start Googling “maths tuition near me” to get someone in to work with them on the subject they need aid with.
Parental pressure can take the form of explicit demands, like telling your kids that they must achieve specific exam results. Watch out for subtler forms of pressure, too. Don’t make your kids more anxious by discussing your exam expectations in front of their friends or talking to other adults about their academic performance in front of them.