The theme of this week's blog posts has been 'exams' and 'stress'. For some parents, it may seem as though there's no escaping it – the looming monster of exam stress. Rather than fixating further on the stress and its symptoms, let's take a look at ways in which it can be reduced and controlled. The most important thing to remember is that one shouldn't wait until the stress becomes overwhelming. Rather, take small and regular steps towards reducing stress and ensure your child is not overburdened. Below are a few simple and inexpensive ways to mitigate stress -
- Make sure your child regularly takes small breaks from studying to do something they enjoy. This can be implemented in short 20 minute breaks where your child watches a little television, goes to the garden for some fresh air or draws and colours. There should be no restriction as to what your child is "allowed" to do during these breaks. Let them choose, as it ensures it is something they will look forward to rather than an activity imposed upon them. Stepping away from the books will refresh and energize them for their next round of revision.
- Allow your child time to get exercise. This can be in the form of a game of football in the garden, a run in the park, a swim or even a game of fetch with the dog. It's very frustrating that exams fall during a time when the weather is at its finest. Allow your child the time and space to get out of the house and enjoy the weather. By staying stagnant and indoors, they are zapping the energy out of themselves – leading to feelings of dullness and exhaustion.
- Do not underestimate the power of meditation. It clears the mind and soothes the spirit, especially when stress takes over. By taking the time to shut off overwhelming thoughts from pervading the mind, your child is making sure their minds will be clear and ready to absorb new information. Meditation also plays a key role in reducing anxiety attacks and feelings of helplessness. Meditation techniques like breath control can also be used during exams to calm the mind – making a child more focused and ready to take on the exam.
Falling prey to the notion that a child should focus on studies during exams and nothing else is counter-productive. A frazzled, confused and overburdened mind can only absorb so much information.