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It’s time to shelve the constant messaging on whatsapp or checking of latest updates on Facebook.
Why you ask?
It’s exam time!
Wait a minute, but your kid is having his grade finals right, not you.
But realistically, parents are equally stressed out during this time. Yes dear parents, that time of the year is here which is dreaded equally by students and parents alike.
Parents experience a similar level of stress, anxiety and mental pressure during exam time. Parents often feel like it is them who are giving the examination instead of the child. Lives begin to revolve around a flurry of tuition and tuition teachers, strict time-tables and academics. Unfortunately, we as parents start giving so much attention to each and every minute spent by the kid during this time that it ultimately builds up a huge dilemma and tension for the child.
Children will by default start feeling anxious and become overtly vulnerable towards the outcomes of the exams. With so much perceived to be at stake, it is not surprising that children find themselves experiencing very high stress and anxiety levels. Exam-related depression, black-outs and suicides have become alarmingly common.
Parents tend to relate their past experiences to their kids present situation. They strive to set all those things right which were expected from them in the past without realizing that they are making the present and future of this kid highly susceptible.
Examinations are conducted to evaluate your kid , not you or your teachings. It is imperative that parents strive to help their kid during exam time rather than making the environment all the more stressful.
Some of the following tips and pointers should help you get through this challenging time.
Be Calm yourself
Whether your kid is star performer or an average student, whatever his or her academic performance is, they are already concerned about the approaching exams. In this scenario your effort should be towards mitigating their anxiety and not add to it. This will surely improve their performance from the present level. It is essential that you do not pass your anxiety on to your child as this can hamper his performance and ability to concentrate.
An adequate level of stress will enable your child to take his examinations seriously and work towards it accordingly. Preparing the kid mentally, as the exam draw closer, will help them gear up for it with better focus and diligence It might be that during this time children complain of an inability to concentrate, may become irritable or seem depressed and can lose appetite and have sleep disturbances. If you feel your child is unable to cope, it is a good idea to get him/her to speak to a counsellor.
Give space to your child
Rising early to do the notes suited best for you. But it might not be the same with your kid. He likes night study .
As they grow , they tend to develop their owns methods and strategies to study and handle examinations. What worked for you may not work for your child. Instead of being adamant about a particular way of studying, let them devise their own means. Provide suggestions and support, as it is your duty as a parent, but then let the child follow what he or she finds most comfortable for themselves. It is important to give him/her space to figure out what works for best or him by not interfering in his/her study habits.
It’s not the end of the world
Please remember, one examination and that too in primary or middle school does not define the course of your child’s career. But it can surely define or destroy the more subtle parts of life like your relationship, their perception towards failure and ability to handle challenges. Be realistic about your child’s capabilities and not be blurred by your expectations. All your kid needs at this point is your unconditional support ….no fear , no rewards , no bargains.
A healthy mind in a healthy body
As a parent , nutritious food at regular intervals is the best support you can give. A healthy diet consisting of fruits and vegetables, keeping away from fried snacks and caffeine in the form of coffee and colas help in keeping the mind and the body alert. Proper sleep of at least eight hours will help them to concentrate better.
Provide a quiet & clean ambience to study
Yes you have to cut down on your tv time too because it is quite probable that he will be having his preparatory leaves. So when he is home, disturbances like television, mobile gaming etc. can distract him . Avoiding these things yourselves would be beneficial. The parents should play an important role in providing quiet and clean ambience to study.
Keep up the motivation
Appreciation is the greatest motivation. Acknowledge your child for all the efforts he or she is making. Help them in building a respectable self esteem and keep up to it. To mention here again, it should be within the limits of their capabilities. A little extra doze of hugs and love will create a happy atmosphere for the kid. Your support in maintaining cool and calm environs might motivate him to put in longer hours of study.
Examinations are not punishment
Banning tv or playing with friends will do more harm than good. In a bid to increase study time , parents take such drastic measures. They are kids and recreation is vital for their health. It is important for the child to have some forms of recreation and to take breaks from studying. Examinations are nothing but a life-skill to help teach time-management, stress-management, performance under pressure, planning etc. which is so important for later life. Exams should not be turned into a punishment neither for the kid nor for the parent.
It is natural for a parent to want his/her child to have a great result and high performance. It is also natural for a parent to be anxious about his child's performance in examinations to get into that elusive college/university. But let’s make it equally natural to understand that our kids will receive what they are destined for. We can only be the facilitator, guide and guardian. Let’s not try becoming the monarch.
Let’s help our children look at examinations as a learning process and as a life-skill rather than a monster. This attitude can help free both students as well as us as parents of exam related stress and anxiety.