It’s that time of the year when exam blues take over, and your children’s schedule becomes chock-a-block with relentless hours of studies. The pressure of performance makes them naturally anxious and results in unwanted stress.
While a bit of stress is acceptable to motivate them, it can take an unfavourable turn in the cases of students who can’t handle it well. With stress, they not only invite the fear of failure but also start complaining about physical ailments such as headaches, insomnia, fatigue and even panic attacks. They lose focus and ability to think rationally, which further leads to frustration and more stress.
Examinations are an inevitable part and parcel of a student’s life. Children can’t do much about changing the examination system, but managing stress the right way is surely in their hands. Children who can beat the stress have a higher level of concentration and absorb what they are learning better than their stressed-out peers.
Here are five effective ways for your children to keep the exam stress at bay:
This sounds cliché, but a study schedule will help your children prioritise the subjects in the order they want to focus on. They can allocate the time they want to spend on each subject/course/chapter by their difficulty level. Now, in spite of making a meticulous timetable, there might be days when an unexpected eventuality may hamper that day’s study schedule. So, just make sure the timetable leaves scope for revision and extra time at hand before exams.
All work and no play make Jack a dull boy! When children are burning the midnight oil preparing for exams, they deserve to indulge in pastime as well. In fact, healthy time-outs are welcome during studies and help their mind and body relax. They could take a 5-minute breather every 2 hours of study. During long breaks, they can listen to music, hang out with friends, play a sport, watch their favourite television show or do anything that makes them feel good from inside. They will resume the studies with a fresh mind and vigour!
It is no secret that social media is an evil addiction. If the child has access to a smartphone or a tablet, there is a high probability that s/he checks his or her social media accounts frequently. It is called the Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) – they do not want to be left out of the happenings in their circle of influence. A one-minute temptation of logging into social media can turn into 15-30 minutes before they know. This is a total wastage of time and loss of concentration, which results in undue stress. The best policy is to shun all social media activity for at least 2-3 months during the exam period. Or at the most, they can restrict it to 5-10 minutes a day.
Every child has this particular cry-baby friend who always talks about not being able to revise and expresses the fear of end up failing in the exams. Then, some friends can’t stop spreading rumours about exam papers. It is in your children’s interest to maintain a distance from such friends during the exams. They should keep the company of friends who guide and motivate each other, not cause distraction from the studies.
A healthy body equals a healthy mind. What children will nourish their body will reflect on their minds as well. Children should spend at least 15-20 minutes daily on walks, playing outdoors or yoga. Around 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep can work wonders for them! Similarly, they should include brain-boosting power foods such as nuts (especially, almonds), eggs, fruits & veggies, dairy, sprouts, fish, whole grains and freshly squeezed juices in their diet. They should eat smaller and frequent meals so that they are never low on energy.
Exam stress is normal, but the above tips will ensure that it doesn’t become a monster for your children.