A lot of exam stress comes from the pressure to succeed. You may not feel that you as parents are pressuring your child to succeed, but often teenagers feel the pressure from school, their peers, and within themselves.
Aiming for top grades is a great goal for teens to have – it can help them get into the A level courses they want to undertake, into the university of their choice, or into jobs and apprenticeships. For some students, these goals will become too much, and they become focused only on this end result. Doing this can lead to less effective revising, and panic in exams, which in turn can damage potential grades.
Try to remind your children that the way to achieve these goals is putting effort into steady revision. It can help them to hear from you, that you will support them no matter the outcome, and that what matters is they do their best.
Teens are often told at school to draw up revision timetables and stick to them. This can be great for a lot of students, but some can struggle. You can help by sitting down with them and talking through how much time they should be scheduling in. Remember to help them schedule breaks for snacks, and get out for some fresh air. Even though revision needs to come first, getting out to see their friends or play sports, in moderation, will actually help them not to overload themselves.
We all know that teenagers aren’t always the healthiest eaters, but keeping their energy levels up without relying on sugar and caffeine is far better. Keeping healthy snacks in the house will encourage them to pick at those, rather than resorting to crisps and sweets. Drinking lots of water is important but can be boring. Try encouraging them to drink sparkling water, and/or adding fruit flavouring, for a healthy but tastier drink.
Most adults are well aware that stress can affect our sleep, and it is exactly the same for teenagers worried about exams. One thing that can help is to find your child a place to work which is clearly dedicated to work, and preferably away from their bed. Bedrooms are full of distractions, and studying in bed can start to associate bed with the stress of exams. Creating a quiet space can help your child to focus on their work whilst there, but when they move away, they can feel like other places are more relaxing.
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