While it has never been easy to be a teenager, in the 21st century, it may be more complex than ever. There is pressure to succeed, fear of the future, and navigating misinformation on social media. These pressures can be compounded around exam season. Even young people doing their junior cert can get overwhelmed with stress. In this blog, we want to look at a few ways parents can help their children navigate issues with stress. However, we must emphasise that these are just tips for dealing with the everyday pressure teenagers naturally feel when faced with important exams. This should not be considered an alternative to seeking out a professional counsellor if your child is finding managing their anxiety particularly difficult.
The tips below should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice.
Identifying the Signs of Stress
First things first, let's look at some of the signs that a teenager is feeling stress. Teenagers who are experiencing stress may:
Experience headaches and stomach pains
Lose interest in previously enjoyed activities
Struggle with sleep
Overeat or lose appetite
Have a negative mood and low spirits
Tips To Help a Teenager Deal with Exam Stress
- Make sure they get enough sleep
Quality sleep enhances cognitive function and focus. Adolescents typically require 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night.
Ensure your child has about half an hour to unwind between studying, watching TV, or using a computer and bedtime. This practice aids in promoting a restful night's sleep.
Attempting to cram all night before an exam is generally not advisable. Prioritising sleep will prove more beneficial for your child than a few hours of anxious last-minute studying.
- Try To Prioritise A Healthy Diet
Ensuring your child maintains a balanced diet is crucial for their well-being, particularly during exams.
You probably know that foods and drinks high in fat, sugar, and caffeine—like energy drinks, cola, sweets, chocolate, burgers, and chips—can lead to hyperactivity, irritability, and moodiness in their children.
Whenever feasible, engage your child in the food shopping process and motivate them to opt for nutritious snacks.
- Try To Take Part In The Exam Studying Process
Ensure your child has a comfortable study space. Inquire about ways you can assist them in their revision.
Collaborate on practical strategies for effective revision, such as creating a study schedule or obtaining past papers for practice.
Inspire your child by prompting them to reflect on their life goals and illustrating the connection between their aspirations and the importance of diligent revision and successful exams.
- Try to be flexible during Exam Time
Maintain flexibility during exam periods. If your child dedicates the day to revision, don't stress about unfinished household tasks or untidy bedrooms.
Keeping a calm demeanour is beneficial. Keep in mind that exams are temporary and will eventually come to an end.
- Open a Dialogue About Exam Stress
Reassure your child that feeling anxious is normal, as it's a natural response to exams. The key is to channel these nerves into a positive force.
If anxiety becomes a hindrance, suggest that your child practice the activities they'll engage in on exam day. This practical approach can make the exam experience feel more manageable.
For instance, they could simulate exam conditions by working on practice papers or familiarise themselves with the exam hall with the assistance of school staff.
Please support your child in confronting their fears rather than avoiding them. Please encourage them to reflect on their knowledge and the effort they've already invested in studying, fostering a sense of confidence.
- Encourage light exercise during exam seasons
Physical activity can enhance energy levels, clear the mind, and alleviate stress. The specific training matters less—whether walking, cycling, swimming, playing football, or dancing, all are effective.
Participating in activities with others can be especially beneficial.
Remember that the above tips are only for managing stress. If a child is having a particularly tough time with anxiety or stress or is dealing with issues surrounding their mental health, please consider contacting our clinic today.