As parents, our children look to us for solutions when times are tough. It’s important not to underestimate the anxiety that exams can cause — even in primary-aged children. Leading volunteer groups in Singapore such as Samaritans of Singapore report that academic pressure is one of the most common reasons for 10 to 19 year olds contacting their help services. Here are some ways we as parents can help our children deal with exam stress:
Keep a Balance
Adopting a relaxed approach to examinations is key to relieving stress. Parents can help by emphasising that as long as their children have done the best they can in their examinations then the results are not as important. As a parent, we should also help ensure our children do consistent work throughout the year, have balanced, nutritious meals and get enough sleep — so no burning the midnight oil! Starting this early in our children’s primary school years will help them get into a proper routine.
Write a Note
A simple gesture like writing a note to calm your child’s fears can also go a long way. Don’t take it for granted that our kids know how we feel. It’s important to tell our children that we know they have worked hard and regardless of their results, we love them.
Be Supportive and Encouraging
While the stakes are higher these days and parents have greater expectations, the stress is also higher for our children, which is why it is vital to be supportive and encouraging. As parents, it’s important we remember to be a parent and not a teacher first. This way, our children always know that we as their parents are there for them should they need someone to listen to their worries or a shoulder to cry on.
Share Joys and Disappointments
We have all gone through exams and their stress so why not share these experiences with our children? Sharing your personal exam and/or school experiences could help you bond and connect better with your kids. It may even make your advice sound more convincing and less dated when they understand your perspective or see that you too have gone through a similar event.
Whatever the results of exams, it is important to help children understand that it’s only a step to the next stage in their education and part of the journey to adulthood.
For more on how you can plan ahead for the next stage of their education, click here.