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Exam time is a stressful period for students but it can be almost as stressful for parents and carers!
However, it’s important to realise that these few weeks are all about them and it’s your job to provide as much support as you can.
To ensure you don’t impose your stress on them, here are a few ways you can make things easier for everyone involved…
Silence your inner critic
This is not the time for you to project your future hopes and dreams for your child onto them.
They don’t want to hear about your college experience, what you wish you’d done or how you could have been a doctor if you’d just knuckled down and studied harder.
If you’re worried that they’re not doing enough study, offer a reward-based system – eg. a Netflix episode after two hours of study or going for a walk with a friend.
Give them space
We know it’s a hard thing to do but it’s vital that you give your child the space they need during this stressful time.
No doubt, the urge is there to smother them with love, support, reassurance and as much vitamin C as you can get into them but really, all they need to know is that you’re there for them when they need you.
Constantly questioning their study techniques or asking them to rattle off facts about a certain topic will only serve to make them less confident of their own ability.
Help them find a healthy balance
One of the best things you can do for your child at this time is make sure there is a constant supply of healthy food at their disposal.
Their instinct could be to get a quick energy-hit from something full of sugar but they’re much better off eating fruit and vegetables – in the form of smoothies and soup if necessary!
Taking Vitamin B and a good fish oil supplement is also a good idea, as is stopping for regular breaks in the fresh air.
Sleep is their best friend
There’s nothing quite like a good night’s sleep to make you feel like you can accomplish anything with your day.
Your child needs at least six hours sleep every night during their exams to ensure that what they’ve learned the day before stays in their minds.
If they’re prone to anxiety, download a calming sleep app or play some short guided breathing exercises/meditations to help them nod off at night.
Validate their feelings
On the morning of the exam, instead of brushing away their worries with a hearty, ‘you’ll be fine, it’ll be all over in a few hours’, acknowledge their nerves.
Give them an extra tight hug, tell them you’re proud of them and that all they can do is their best.
Afterwards, if they’re unhappy with how the exam went, listen to their fears, comfort them and then move on to the preparation for the next one.
Agree that, while exams are important, they’re not the ultimate measure of a person’s ability (or hire-ability!) and no matter what happens in the exam hall, they will be alright.