Call us on: 07733 274 522
Call us on: 07733 274 522

‘Tis the season for exam stress

It’s that time again. Summer term. Exam season. Up and down the UK. Stress City . . .

It’s a perennial problem and one that can lead to innumerable issues.

It might not seem scientific but to search for ‘Exam Stress’ on social media highlights the fact that children and teenagers are starting to feel the pressure.

‘Exam stress makes me THE worst person to be around…just about everything sets off a mental breakdown,’ tweeted one. ‘Can’t wait until this exam stress is over and I can breathe like a normal human…,’ added another.

This is just a snapshot. There are countless other examples.

Irritable and anxious. Under pressure to perform. Lost appetite and listlessness . . .

This is a HUGELY difficult period in anyone’s development.

Young people are often ill-equipped to cope with everything that is thrown at them once the summer term starts to kick in . . .

So what can YOU do as a parent to help ease the burden?

Here at CPUK, we understand Exam Stress better than most . . .

This is our eight-step guide for adults to help children through this difficult time:

Get involved and help them to revise. This doesn’t mean doing it for them, but showing an interest, making yourself available and helping them to get organised can make a big difference. Start revising early. Provide a comfortable environment for studying and encourage them stick to a revision schedule.

Understand Exam Stress and look out for the signs and symptoms. Exam Stress can manifest itself in numerous ways (children can find it difficult to sleep, be irritable and/or tearful, lose their appetite and appear negative and/or depressed). Learning to recognise the signs is a good first step.

Ensure children eat/drink the right things. Maintaining a healthy/balanced diet is VERY important and can help those under pressure to feel better about things. Fruit and vegetables are good. Too much high-fat, high-sugar and high-caffeine food/drinks can make children moody, irritable and anxious.

Encourage good sleeping habits. Good sleep aids brain function, thinking and concentration and, as a general rule, teenagers need between eight and ten hours a night. Give children sufficient time to wind down after studying, limit exposure to late-night social media and don’t allow screens in the bedroom.

Be flexible. It’s good to implement household rules and responsibilities, but something has to give. Jobs and chores not getting done? Bedrooms untidy? Our advice is to let it go. Exams don’t last forever so give them a break and don’t sweat the small stuff.

Talk about it. It’s natural and normal to be nervous as exams approach and reminding children that this is commonplace can help to put things into perspective. Be positive, remain calm and keep the lines of communication open. Find conversation difficult? Encourage them to talk to someone else.

Encourage exercise and keep them active. There’s more to life than studying and exercise can help to increase energy levels, clear the mind and relieve stress. Go for a walk or a bike ride, kick a ball around, have a swim. Young people need to get out more – and not just at exam time – and a little fresh air can work wonders.

Don’t add to the pressure. This is the big one as research suggests that children do feel under pressure from their families. Listen. Be supportive. Don’t criticise. Reassure children and keep things positive. Maintain perspective. It’s just an exam. What’s the worst that can happen?

It’s that time again. Summer term. Exam season. Up and down the UK. Stress City . . .

Take our advice and YOU can help to ease the burden.

Concerned about Exam Stress and the impact it is having on YOUR child? You can always contact CPUK here.

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