How to support your child during the stressful exam season

1. Provide healthy snacks
 
In the midst of studying for their exams, students often neglect healthy eating habits. Some may focus so intently on studying that they forget about certain meals, or lose their appetite due to the stress of exam season. On the other hand, some students may indulge in unhealthy snacks and beverages to tide them through numerous study sessions.
 
Thus, one of the ways you can show care and concern for your child is by ensuring that they get the nutrients they need. This could be something as simple as providing them with healthy snacks (such as fruits) while they are studying at home. You could also prepare a care pack for them to bring on their study sessions. Aside from healthy snacks and vitamin supplements, you could add a personal touch by including a handwritten note of encouragement to your child. These actions will show your child that you are there for them throughout this trying period.
 
2. Take an educational break
 
Taking breaks is vital in ensuring that your children can keep going and hold out in the long run during this intensive studying period. Instead of the usual television, phone or iPad downtime, try encouraging your children to use their break to watch a fun and educational programme for a change.
 
Stand-up comedies are a good example as the very nature of such shows require viewers to engage their minds in processing the witty jokes and punchlines told. An additional perk is that it can be very funny, which helps in appealing to the kids.
 
Check out our post on educational things to do during the holidays for more inspiration.
 
3. Avoid playing the comparison card
 
“Lesley’s child is doing this and that assessment and she scored really well in her last exam. Why aren’t you doing the same?”
 
This may sound very familiar to us all. It’s the comparison card our parents or any figure of authority pull out when they’re trying to motivate us to do better. While drawing comparisons may be well-intentioned, this oftentimes has the opposite effect on the recipient. Most of the psychological studies and work done on the effect of comparison agree that it tends to backfire and cause more harm to the child’s self-esteem and morale, thereby disincentivizing them from striving to do better.
 
As such, parents, while you may be tempted to do so, try to refrain from using comparisons to motivate your children. Instead, try finding out what they have achieved or improved in over the course of their studying period and affirm them for it.
 
4. Avoid saying things like "shouldn't you be studying?"
 
We've all been there: at the end of a stressful day of work, all you want to do is kick back in front of the TV or computer and watch a few shows to relax. Nothing infuriates you more than when someone interrupts your relaxation time or worse, suggests that you haven't been working hard enough to merit any rest and enjoyment.
 
Parents often mean well when they say things like "Shouldn't you be revising?" or "Don't you have any homework to do?" when they witness their children taking a break from work. However, these questions may irritate or even demoralise your children, especially if they had been hard at work before you came home. Admittedly, some children may not have finished their schoolwork before playing and relaxing. As such, it may be helpful to ask questions about their progress in studying without assuming that they have not done any work. For example, "How was your study session today?" or "Was your homework manageable? Is there anything you need help with?"