7 November 2018

Parenting Corner: Taking the stress out of exams

Posted in SU QLD

One of the things we hear a lot about today is how poorly Australian kids are doing at school. The pressure is on our schools to show that children have the smarts to be 21st century workers.

And that means kids are under pressure too.

One of the key ways schools map academic progress is exams. As kids move through school, exams have more riding on them, leading to more pressure and more stress.

If you have a young person in your life who’s gearing up for an exam block, you could be the stable influence that keeps them sane.

Most kids have one of the two things that help them do well in exams. They can either prepare well, or they have the flair to show off what they know. Kids develop stress when they don’t have a good mix of the two.

If you live with one of those kids who leaves everything to the last minute, they can cut down exam stress with some good preparation. Help them to look at their work for the term or semester and map a plan to revise. They should be putting in a bit of time each week to look back over concepts and practice skills.

For some kids, this is better done with friends, or with the help of an online chat. You might even resort to a tutor for the trickier subjects later in high school.

For those kids who know their stuff and struggle to show it, they need help with the mind games.

Exams can be overwhelming if we don’t have a positive mindset and some self-calming routines. Help the young people in your life prepare for their exam by getting a good night’s sleep, eating a decent breakfast and arriving with plenty of time to spare. Having some positive phrases to run through their mind, and a few breathing strategies can help calm the nerves too.

And in all this, we can be that adult that helps them keep their exams in perspective.

No exam is that big a deal that their whole life depends on it. There are always other pathways to reach their goal, even if they have to get a little creative to find it. Give them a cheer when they do well, and offer a hug when they’ve had a tough day.

Be the person in their life that helps them remain positive and see that this exam is just part of the journey, not all of it.

Rachel Doherty is a social worker with 25 years experience in working with families. When not wrangling her own trio of kids, she’s the director of Tweens2teen and provides professional supervision to SU QLD chaplains.  http://tweens2teen.com/

Jennifer Kerr

Media and Communications Administrator

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