Exam Stress: How to Help Your Children Cope With Exam Stress
Integrated Learning Strategies is excited to feature tips that help children cope with exam stress. While many of the recommendations below are great for children and parents, some accommodations or exceptions may be made for children with learning challenges and learning disabilities. Integrated Learning Strategies (ILS) is a learning and academic center. As a reminder, ILS is not a health care provider and none of our materials or services provide a diagnosis or treatment of a specific condition or learning challenge you may see in your child or student. If you seek a diagnosis or treatment for your child or student, please contact a trained professional who can provide an evaluation of the child.
Exams are among the most stressful life events for most college students. After months of working hard, success or failure boils down to a few short tests. Some people thrive under pressure and excel in exams, but for others, stress and fear of failure can be overbearing. If you have kids at college, and they are preparing for exams, here are some hints to help them cope.
Learn to recognize the signs of stress
It’s natural to experience stress when faced with difficult times in life, such as end of year exams. However, if your child is constantly stressed, or they are reaching boiling point, it’s time to act. We can all cope with mild stress, but prolonged periods of severe stress can be very damaging. As exam period approaches, look out for potential warning signs. If you feel that your child is struggling, early intervention will help to prevent the situation from getting worse.
Some common signs of stress include:
- Becoming irritable and restless
- Changes in appetite
- Becoming withdrawn and isolated
- Insomnia and daytime tiredness
- Loss of concentration and focus
- Increased susceptibility to coughs and colds
Offer your support
If you’re worried that your child is suffering from severe stress, offer them your support and reassurance. Encourage them to open up to you and share their worries. Are they struggling to concentrate when they try and revise? Are they worried that they’re going to fail? Are they anxious about meeting deadlines for papers and assignments? If they’ve been bottling their thoughts up, it may do them good to let them out and talk about their concerns. If they don’t want to talk to you, they may find it easier to chat to a sibling, friend or college mentor.
As a parent, you want your child to do well, but it’s essential that they have realistic expectations. Try not to put pressure on them and give them space and time. Let them know that you are their biggest cheerleader and you are there for them if they need you. Encourage hard work, but ensure that they understand that they can only do their best.
If you can’t get through to your child, they refuse to let you in, or you’re unsure what to do, don’t hesitate to seek advice. Contact mentors or tutors at the college and organize a meeting. Teachers are used to dealing with stressed students. They may be able to offer their support, as well as giving you advice to help your child cope better. There may be measures in place, which could help with impending deadlines, for example. If your child is worried about completing an assignment in time, it may be possible to ask for an extension.
If you’re worried about your child’s stress levels, arrange an appointment with their doctor. Stress is something that affects all of us, but severe stress can have serious implications for health and wellbeing. If you’re worried that your child may be depressed or that stress is affecting their physical health, a doctor will be able to help.
Consider other options
When students juggle different assignments and try to cope with stress, the outcome may be higher levels of stress and poor results. One of the main worries for students trying to get a good grade at the end of a semester is fear of disappointing others. If time is an issue and it’s impossible to concentrate and research, contacting a custom term paper writing service may be an option. It may also be possible to arrange extra tuition, ask for extra time during exams or ask for mitigation.
Take time out
Time may be an unaffordable luxury when you’re trying to revise for exams, but breaks can often make you more productive. Try and lure your child out of their room of the college library to enjoy some fresh air and a change of scenery. Trying to cram like mad may seem like a good idea, but it can actually be counterproductive. It’s best to focus for a few hours and then have some time off. Try to distract your child with something fun to reduce stress levels and take their mind off work for half an hour or so. Take them for a drink or some lunch. Go for a walk in the park or do an exercise class together.
If you live far away, get in touch with a couple of your child’s friends and ask them to arrange an afternoon out or a break at the weekend, for example.
Encourage the use of coping mechanisms
Stress is a very common problem, but there are solutions. Not all coping mechanisms work for everyone. But it’s worth encouraging your child to try some out if they feel under pressure. Examples include breathing exercises, meditation, and exercise. Some people also find massage therapy and visualization effective.
Exercise is beneficial for those coping with stress in the run up to exams. It distracts your attention and helps to focus your mind. It releases natural mood boosters called endorphins. Working out also enables you to channel frustration and aggression. There are lots of different types of exercise you can try. If you feel like you’ve got pent-up anger, try kickboxing or martial arts. If you feel restless, go to a yoga or Pilates class. Regular exercise can also help with sleep problems. A tough workout tires out the body, and you’ll be able to sleep better if you feel less stressed.
Exams can be a stressful time for students, but also for parents. It’s natural to want your children to do well. Stress can be an obstacle, but hopefully, these tips will help you to support your child and guide them through tricky times at college. Be there for them, encourage and reassure them. Ensure that they know that you’re always at the end of phone. Advise them to take time out and try and spot any warning signs early. If they’re struggling, don’t be afraid to intervene. Nipping problems in the bud is often the best course of action.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning challenges achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs
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