We are coming into exam time and as a mum and a therapist I completely understand how stressful this period can be for everyone involved.
There is a lot of pressure on young people to do well in exams, and they often put a lot of pressure on themselves. As a parent it can be difficult to know what to do for the best and in addition to walking on eggshells for the next few weeks, here are some tips to help you and your child feel more confident and less stressed through this challenging time for you both.
Control Your Own Anxiety
The calmer you stay, the calmer your child or children will be. This is the best and most important thing you can do – however irritated or panicky you – or they – are.
We all pick up other people’s stress and they will feed off your stress as well. Get my 10 ‘On The Go, Instant Calmers’ – an instant calm toolbox sent straight to your inbox to help you to stay patient and calm….despite the provocation you are under.
Show your children how you control your stress and share the calming techniques with them.
Healthy Food, Regular Drinks, Sleep.
Don’t forget the basics of being a mum or dad.
Encourage your child to eat healthily, make then food they like (if they are at university send a supermarket shop), stay hydrated, and maintain a good bed time routine. A lack of sleep makes everything worse. See the Sleep Hygiene Guidelines – they might help – although teenagers are notorious for bad sleep habits.
Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff
Don’t add fuel to the flames. Avoid topics that you know annoy them… probably everything if your are like mine were!
Agree guidelines for social media use (if possible), and don’t add any more stress in the mix.
They’re rooms can fester for a few weeks, pick up their laundry without comment and resist the temptation to disparage the rubbish they watch on tv/laptops/phones etc.
Concentration and taking in information has been shown in study after study to be optimized when you take regular breaks. They all say the same thing. Regular breaks increase your productivity. Encourage your children to take regular breaks usually 10 -20 minutes every 90 minutes, but 10 minutes every hour is absolutely fine too.
Everyone’s capacity to take in information is different, negotiate with them so they that they take the decision to take control their time and energy.
Let Them Have The Responsibility
Teenagers are great at pretending they don’t care when they do. They don’t want to lose face….so ignore the ‘I don’t care attitude’ if you know they really do.
Alternatively, tough love is sometimes needed at this time. If your child won’t put in the work, in the end, there is not much you can do. You cannot want good exam results more than them. You can only encourage and support them to get the results they want for themselves, however frustrating or disappointing it is for you.
So, you maybe have to let them learn the hard way and face the consequences of their actions…and be around to pick up the pieces.
Make sure they have all the equipment they need well in advance of exams.
Just as my son is about to go through the door for his maths exam, he suddenly ‘remembers’ that the calculator that he has, is not allowed???!!!!
The reason why is lost in the panic of getting to the supermarket, and then to school, before the start of the exam.
Get in touch with the school if your child is not clear about what they need.
Good luck getting through this tricky time. All us mums ( and some dad’s) are with you……..