We are very good at recognising how stressful exams can be for our children but sometimes it is hard to know what to do for the best. Advice can vary from the ‘leave them to it, you can take a horse to water but you can’t make them drink’ school of thought to the ‘if I have to sit next to you for the next 5 weeks to make you study I will’ approach.
Of course there is no one size fits all guide to helping your child through their exams and different things will work for different children (and parents) but here at Select Psychology we have many years experience of supporting children and parents at this difficult stage of their lives and we wanted to share some of the things that we have learned.
Identify Exam Stress Early
It is normal for children to feel stressed about their exams and some level of stress can be good, it helps a child to grow, develop coping strategies and build resilience. However, it is easy for this stress to tip over and become counter productive and this is where, as a parent you may need to intervene and help your child to redress the balance. No child likes the feeling that they are being monitored but, keeping an eye out for any notable behavioural changes such as difficulty sleeping, erratic eating, increased irritability or complaining of frequent physical health symptoms will enable parents to monitor how they are coping.
It goes without saying that this is a stressful time for all the family, but handled in the right way you can and will survive it intact. Remember, this is just one way of testing your child, it does not reflect all of the other amazing qualities that you know they have, make sure they remember this and know that their best is always good enough.