Late-night study sessions, last-minute revisions, and nervous energy around the house… sounds familiar? Exam stress is real– not just for the kids but the entire family. It’s a critical time in a student’s life and we want to provide as much encouragement and support as we can. To ensure that the students don’t get bogged down with the pressure, we explore the reasons behind stress and how to curb it.
Several direct & indirect stressors affect a child’s performance and learning. Identifying these stressors is the first step. Their learning environment and the system has shifted drastically due to the pandemic, and classes and exams have taken a virtual route. It has been a challenging time for students and teachers alike. This sudden change and uncertainty of the future have left them vulnerable. What also adds to the stress of the exam is not being able to meet with friends and have the much-needed peer interaction.
First things first, it’s not always easy to identify anxiety, for it can also be passive and subtle. The signs below might help you watch out for anxiety.
The very first thing you notice about your child’s study routine is that it becomes challenging for them to concentrate. When exams are around the corner, children grab the textbooks anxiously and study for hours at stretch just to cope with it. It might seem like they are grasping a lot, but in reality, they might be struggling to focus and going through the same lesson over and over again.
Fear of failure and negative thoughts
One of the biggest nemesis of a student is the idea of failing. A lot of children self-assign the performance pressure to impress their parents. The idea of failing creates a pressure they are not yet ready to deal with. This fear can also cause negative self-talk and make them aloof.
Disturbed sleep patterns and eating habits
Studying for tests and exams often leave a child drained and tired all the time. This stress eventually adds up and affects their sleep patterns and eating habits.
Irritability and fidgeting
Anxiety and stress go hand in hand, and excess of it can lead to chaotic bursts of anger and irritability. An anxious child often fidgets and complains about things to deal with all the exams stress. The feeling of helplessness is a sure sign of anxiety.
These are the major signs to identify exam anxiety. Keep in mind that online schooling can further amplify these effects. They might not always feel comfortable to reach about and talk about their anxiety openly. So, here’s a list of things you can do to help your child overcome stress.
Reassurance and motivation
Make sure you create a safe space for your child and communicate how grades don’t define their future or their intellect. Motivate them to work hard irrespective of the consequences or marks. Complement them from time to time for all the hard work they put in.
Relaxation is the key
Teaching and helping your child learn how to calm down, take breaks and relax is very important. A few techniques that can help are slow, deep breathing exercises. This will help children calm down and stop panicking. Watching an episode of their favourite TV program with them or treating them to their favourite ice cream is another fun way to help them relax.
Remind them to take breaks
Due to online classes and exams, the usage of electronic devices can get tiresome. Remind them to take a break, and motivate them to do things they usually do for fun. You can also check out this episode from our animated series. We’re sure they’ll love it.
Ensure a healthy diet and sleep pattern
Anxiety leads to poor sleeping and food habits. Your job is to make sure they eat well and have a balanced diet of essential nutrients. Nutritious food and a sound sleep schedule are crucial to strengthen their focus and increase the absorption ratio for all the learning done throughout the day. Stop comparing their academics with other children. Reassure them they are loved irrespective of their performance.
These are simple things we often overlook amidst the exam pressure. Parents are the biggest pillars of support for a child, and these small yet effective measures help you create a positive study environment for them.