Nowadays, school students face unprecedented levels of stress. Just a few years ago students were under pressure only during their 10th and 12th board exams, however now the increased workload for the younger students has increased the pressure on these young minds. With the final exams coming up, the need to study and meet expectations will weigh heavily on your child also. Here are a few ways you can help lessen this pressure on your child.
Prepare a Schedule – By now all schools would have announced the final exam timetable. This would be the right time to sit together with your child and chart out a study schedule keeping in mind the following:
- Alternate between subjects your child finds interesting and those that are more challenging. For example, if Mathematics is a strong point then set aside an hour for it right after say Science (which your child may not enjoy).
- Ensure the study hours are interspersed with break times for meals and relaxation.
Nutrition – The importance of the right nutrition during exams cannot be stressed enough. Exam anxiety may lead your child to either suffer from a lack of appetite or to indulge in unhealthy foods like chips, fizzy soft drinks etc. So apart from setting time slots in the schedule for mealtimes, ensure your child eats a healthy balanced diet. There is nothing like home cooked food with the right balance of all nutrients like proteins, vitamins, carbohydrates etc.
Exercise and Fun Activities – Studies have shown that while exercise is essential for physical fitness it also has a positive impact on mental health. The chemicals released by the brain during exercise help reduce stress, improve the sleep pattern and increase memory power along with a host of other benefits. Hence it is imperative that you set aside an hour or two each day for exercises and other fun related activities. While exercise can take the form of walking, yoga, tennis etc; fun activities involve board games, an evening visit to the local park, stepping out for dinner and maybe even a favourite television show.
Sleep – An average of 8-9 hours of sleep is absolutely essential for your child to regain their energy. The quote ‘Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise’ is apt during exams. So ensure they get to bed at a reasonable hour and wake up early with a refreshed mind to continue their studies.
Social Media – While taking time out as mentioned above is important, it is advisable to keep your child away from social media for the next month or so till the exams are done. The temptation to keep checking their phones for updates on various social media applications like Whats App, Snapchat, Instagram etc will adversely impact their level of concentration.
Support System – The increasing level of competition for seats in premium colleges and lucrative careers has trickled down to even the school level. Teachers and parents aware of the competition children have to face in the outside world, start pushing them beyond their limits. This has resulted in a rising number of anxiety related problems like depression, nausea, headaches and more.
As a parent, you are the first person your child will turn to for emotional support. Always be there for them, encourage them to talk about their hopes and fears. While encouraging them to do their best in the upcoming exams, let them know that exams are not the be all and end all of their lives. Your reassurances will go a long way in allaying their fear and instilling confidence in them.
On a final note it is also important to remind yourself to not stress out as your child will pick up on your anxiety, and feel added pressure to perform well. So stay positive and be the source of support and encouragement for your child.