Got EXAM FEVER?
A simple question I asked my client, ‘who is more nervous about the upcoming exams?’ You or Your child.
She gave me an even simpler answer! ‘WE ALL ARE- kids, parents, school…and even our pet dog!’ He can sense the tension at home and is getting all whiny!’
So, while exams are a normal part of life, the stress it causes a family can sometimes feel abnormal, right? This is because, when exams are perceived as ‘monsters and death traps’ that one cannot escape, it causes our minds to view them as an inescapable threat. So, the problem is not with ‘exams’ per se, but rather with the exaggerated and negative way we view exams.
Moms, you know what I mean…Raise your eyebrow if you do this :
- Tiptoe around our kids as they study…
- Run around trying to arrange for last minute tuitions…
- Shout at our kids for not studying enough…
- Try to calm them through their and our tears…
- Start chanting and praying more!
Wish we could count all the raised eyebrows!!
Bottom line, exams can bring out the worst in us as parents as our reactions become exaggerated and unreasonable!
Well, here are is some help! Based on research and the experience of parents who have victoriously faced [and slain or befriended!] the Exam Monster, here are TWO proven and practical ways you can help your child and yourself!
A Positive Mind Set
Many children while facing exams, especially exams, wonder, “Do I know enough?” “What questions will come?”, “What if I do badly?” or “What if I fail?” It is easy to get stuck in a downward spiral, end up in a panic situation and finally blank out in the examination hall!
Research has proven that when we positively ‘reframe’ the way we think, it impacts the way we feel and act. Instead of viewing exams as a ‘threat’ – like a tsunami that is going to unleash its fury and suck us in – we need to reframe our thinking to view exams as a ‘challenge’. We conquer examination stress, much like we would get excited about preparing to conquer a mountain – make it a motivating and exciting challenge. One way to do that is by visualizing success.
PRACTICAL MOM TIP- Tell, your children to think of a time they accomplished something that gave them a sense of pride, achievement or happiness. Tell them to close their eyes and run that event in their mind, capturing how that made them feel. This becomes their snapshot moment of success – that they can recall when they feel that stress coming on. What they are effectively doing is telling their brain that they are capable and confident – they’ve tasted success before and can do so again!
The Right Home Atmosphere
I cannot stress enough, that as a parent you first need to maintain a sense of calmness within yourself. That internal relaxed mind space will create a sense of confidence in your child. Understandably, you have a natural concern for your child’s future, however, sometimes this concern may be come out as criticism. You might end up nagging them when really you wanted to nurture them! At the same time, it is good to re-examine the physical environment too. Make efforts to reduce the noise pollution within the home and encourage your child to use a study space.
PRACTICAL MOM TIP-As part of our parent coaching workshops, we had created this document, that we would love to share with you!
‘The MOM GUIDE to busting exam Stress’.
This shares what you should NOT do and what YOU SHOULD do to show your care and support. See how you fare?
‘The MOM Guide to Busting Exam Stress’
|9 Things NOT to do||Guilty?|
Tick(?)if you do this
|Negative impact on your child|
|1. Don’t deny them relaxing activities|
© Life Skills Experts 2018
|2. Do not compare with others|
|3. Do not constantly ask/question about how much they have studied [gentle reminders, yes!]|
|4. Do not emotionally blackmail|
|5. Do not get overly stressed yourself or panic|
|6. Do not keep bringing up past failures|
|7. Do not let other family members/ friends nag them|
|8. Do not force them to stay up too late/get up too early- they still need at least 7 hours of sleep!|
|9. Don’t focus on results. Focus on the value of effort and hard work.|
|9 Things TO DO||Tick (?) if you do this||Positive impact on your child|
|1. Express your unconditional love for them|
© Life Skills Experts 2018
|2. Have realistic expectations|
|3. Help them prepare|
|4. Ensure healthy food, snacks and lots of water|
|5. Allow for break times|
|6. Remember they might be stressed and irritable and may react angrily to your concerns. Give them a break and be more understanding.|
|7. Focus on their strengths, instil confidence|
|8. Spend time chatting with your child to listen to their concerns [a hug always helps!]|
|9. Have a brief family outing occasionally – provide chances to de-stress for all|
The bottom line is the fact that facing exams is a universal truth of life! The other universal truth is the fact that there is life after exams! Remember, you have been there yourself and live to tell a tale! So, while the present scenario of facing exams seems intense, it too will pass!
So, take a deep breath, wear your positive attitude and be the calm positive parent your child deserves!