It is that time of year when exams are just around the corner. They might be end of year exams, GCSE’s or A-levels but they are equally just as important and can be just as stressful. As according to the NSPCC, 58% of counselling sessions were about exam stress.
Stress can be due to a number of reasons such as not wanting to disappoint parents, or not wanting to disappoint themselves. Alternatively, fear of failure and not being able to get into the College or University of their choice. These pressures are all linked to academic achievements, which can make revision and sitting exams all the more scary. Children in lower sets may be worried that failure would result in being seen as stupid by their peers and others in higher sets could feel under pressure to achieve top marks to live up to expectations.
By suffering from stress, it can affect their sleep, their academic capability and can even result in depression or eating disorders. However, not only can it affect themselves but also it can affect the family and anyone they are spending time with. Many arguments caused over revision or the amount of support they are receiving from family members could all have an impact. It is important for parents to understand the level of stress their children may be under and to acknowledge ways of coping and dealing with this. By allowing the child to bottle up their feelings and stress, it may make the situation even worse.
Exploring ways of how to cope with exam stress is important for both the child and the parent. As anxiety can affect us all in many ways, knowing how to deal with it may be the key to over-coming it. If you think your child is suffering from exam stress, try finding different ways of helping them and ensure them you are there for support.
- Ask your child to write down any worries they may have and to then throw that piece of paper away.
- Encourage them to go for a walk or do some exercise.
- Listen to calming music.
- Help them do something to take their mind off their worries.
- Help them talk to their friends and to remember they are all in the same position.
The exam period is an important time in your child’s life. It can decide on their progression into College or University and eventually determine their next steps into a career. Throughout the exam period, ensure your child is eating well, getting enough sleep and that they know you are there to help them. Don’t add any pressure and don’t set any expectations.