Managing exam stress isn’t easy and it can really cause a lot of mental and emotional problems for children. So, how do you deal with this issue as a parent? What can you do to help as a parent?
1. Be Emotionally Available
During stressful times, children will often need extra comforting, understanding and nurturing from their carers and parents to help them feel confident and secure. Be receptive and open to how your children feel and make sure that you provide them the attention and comfort they need when it is needed.
2. Discuss Feelings
Encourage your child to talk about his or her feelings. Listen with concern to make them feel that they are understood and that how they feel is normal. Help them to understand that opening up can help them manage their feelings.
3. Support Your Child’s Confidence
Teach your child to be brave by showing him or her that you believe that they can do it, and encourage him or her to have a go at whatever they want to do if they’re feeling nervous. Celebrating successes, providing positive feedback for their effort, and encouraging your child will make inspire him to keep trying. This will help your child feel more confident when
4. Teach Them Some Relaxation Skills
Teaching your child how to breathe slowly to calm down and helping him or her imagine that they are doing well during an exam is one way to help them manage anxiety. Doing this with them is a great way to start.
5. Teach Them Helpful Thinking
Instead of saying to themselves that they cannot do something, encourage them to confess positive and helpful statements like “I’ll give it a try”. Don’t let children fall into believing they are failures. BetterHelp has some great examples of how to overcome test anxiety.
6. Lead By Example
Show your children how you cope with feelings of stress or anxiety by thinking out loud. For instance, “I am feeling a bit nervous, but I am going to give it a try”. Remaining positive and calm when one of your children is feeling anxious will help them feel a bit more confident in themselves.
7. Help Them Have Clear Expectations
Talk them through what’ll happen. You could even try talking to the school about the test and where it will be taking place – but first, try and see if you can arrange for a visit beforehand. Most big tests are held off-campus or in the school’s hall.
8. Discuss Problem-Solving
Discuss different situations that could arise during a test and try and come up with some possible solutions for them. For instance, ask them to tell you the three main things that they might do should they freeze during the exam and feel sick. Some of the strategies may include taking ten slow breaths to calm themselves down and refocus, letting the invigilator
or teacher know they aren’t feeling well, or sipping some water if it’s available.
9. Teach Confidence Building Skills
For instance, perusing the paper and answering the questions they know first before trying the harder ones can help a lot.