How To Help Your Child Deal With Exam Stress

By Subodini Menon

The board exams of the year 2018 have begun. With the exams come the stress and the strain that the students have to deal with. Board exams are indeed one of the most important tests that a child gives during his education period.

The results of these exams will determine the courses that the child can choose and the careers that he can take up when the time comes. It is not surprising that these exams cause tremendous pressure in the minds of the young children taking them.

It is not just the children; the parents too are prone to feel the heat of the tests. They in turn press on their children to work harder at earning good numbers.

But as students and their parents, you must remember that stress is a natural part of life and you have to face it at some point or the other. Instead of giving into the stress, you should try to use it as a fuel to help you strive harder to succeed and reach your goals.

What Are The Reasons That Lead To Stress During Exams?

Before you can determine stress-reducing ways during the examinations, you must find out what is causing so much stress. Once that is determined, we can easily work out on how to work on easing the stress. The most common causes of stress during examinations are:

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Lack Of Motivation

Due to a varied set of reasons, a student may not feel the motivation to study or the desire to succeed. It can be due to some kind of personal problems or he may have issues at home that reduce the levels of his motivation.

No Preparation Or Planning

When faced with exams, a child should always plan on how to deal with the various subjects. In addition to setting a plan of the studies, the duration of study for each subject should also be set long before the exam dates arrive. If your child hasn't got a plan for preparation in place, he will suffer from extreme stress when the exam days come closer.

The Expectations Of The Near And Dear Ones

There might be not one friend or family member who doesn't ask your child if he is studying well or not. They might even go further to ask him the details of his study plan. They tell him that they have very high expectations from him. This kind of behaviour causes undue stress in the minds of the children.

The Competition

Competition is always very high when it comes to exams. From the amount of supplementary sheets used during the exams to the marks they earn, children are faced with constant competition. This competition will urge your child to reach beyond his capabilities but can also cause a lot of stress.

Signs Of Stress That You Need To Watch Out For:

Constant Worrying

A child who is under the stress of exams will constantly worry. If you see your child bothered about the exam and how it will affect their future all the time, it is time to do something about it.

Feeling Tensed

If you child seems tensed all the time, chances are that it is due to the stress of the examination.

Complains About Stomach Pain And Headache

A child's body and mind are not well equipped to deal with extreme stress and pressure. If too much pressure is constantly put on them, it will be manifested as physical illnesses and discomfort like stomach pain and headache.

Uneasy Sleeping

If you notice that your child has not been sleeping well at nights, you must ask yourself if it is because of stress of the examinations. If your child is not getting a sufficient amount of sleep, it will adversely affect his study, pushing him further into stress and strain.

Irritation

Often, the stress comes out as irritation towards others. If your normally kind and loving child has been snapping at you or has been rude to his siblings lately, you must know that it is because of the extreme pressures of the examination.

Changes In Appetite

When under stress, the appetite is one of the first things to be affected. Some children respond to stress by feeling adverse to food. There are others who feel extremely hungry under stress too. Both of these behavioural changes are not healthy and should be looked into as soon as it is noticed.

Losing Interest In Activities That They Loved

Children have a set of activities that they love. It can be video games, music, arts and crafts or anything that they really enjoy. If you notice that your child isn't indulging in the activities he loved anymore or isn't enjoying it the way he did previously, you must realize that something is amiss.

Negativity And A Bad Mood

If your child suddenly exhibits a negative outlook of the world and seems to be always in a bad mood, it can be because the stress of the examination is getting to him.

How To Help Your Kids As They Prepare For An Important Exam

Make Sure That Your Child Eats Sufficient Quantity Of Healthy Food

As mentioned earlier, appetite is one of the first things to be affected by stress and strain. The child may avoid eating at all or you may find him gorging on junk food. Either of these habits are not good for your child.

If your child refuses to eat, make sure that you coax him into eating the appropriate amount of food. If your child eats a ton of junk food, make sure to remove all junk food from the house. Instead, provide your child with healthy snacks such as fruits and veggies.

Remember that an excess of soda, chocolate, sweets and fast food will increase your child's irritability and moodiness.

Have Your Kids Sleep A Good 8 Hours

Your child must have been preparing for these exams for a long time. So, an all-nighter on the day before the exams won't do much good to them. Spending the night for a good night's sleep will be far more beneficial. They will be less stressed the next morning and will have a clear head that is ready to face the exams.

Prioritize On What Is Important

When your child is having exams, some things must be kept aside. Do not worry about the chores around the house that needs to be done or the society meeting that you are expected to attend. Exams will be over soon and then, you can get back to life too.

Help Them Where Needed

Ask your child what you can do to help them. You can do your part by turning the home into a good study environment. Draw out their study time tables and set them test papers that they can solve. Do this only if your child requires it and asks you to do it. Motivate your child and let him know that you are always there to help him in any way needed.

Talk To Them About The Stress

If you feel that your child is not coping well with the stress, take some time to talk to him about it. Help him feel at ease by familiarizing with the things that will happen on the exam day. One of the things you can do is to take him to visit the examination halls. Giving him question papers from the past years to solve, which will help him feel confident to face the exams.

Ask Them To Exercise

Most parents restrict the time for games and physical exercise during the exam time. Instead, encourage your child to play outside for an hour every day. Ask him to indulge in activities like running, jogging, swimming or any physical activity that he enjoys. Doing so will help to relive pressure and he will have a clear head when he returns to his studies.

Do Not Contribute To The Pressure

It is seen that most of the examination pressure is precipitated at home. Knowingly or unknowingly, parents tend to put a lot of stress on their children. As a parent, you must be stress free and must try not to project your fears on to them. Low marks in the exams are not the end of the world.

Try not to criticize them for their mistakes and encourage them at every step of their preparation. Once an examination is done, you need not talk much about it. What is done is done. Try to keep the eye on the next exam.

Give Them Treats

You do not need to make the treats expensive or extravagant. Simple things like cooking their favourite dish or letting them watch a movie will raise their spirits. Doing so will tell them that you see their hard work and are rewarding them regardless of the outcome. This will motivate them to work harder and succeed.

When Should You Talk To A Professional For Help?

Stress is common during exams; but it should go away when the exams are done. If your child exhibits moodiness, anxiety, irritability or seems to be depressed even after the exam, you must talk to a professional and get your child the help that he needs.

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    Read more about: stress kids
    Story first published: Saturday, March 10, 2018, 13:00 [IST]
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