How to help your child stay calm under exam pressure

Photo courtesy of Fair Gaize

As the academic year 2023 comes to an end, the stress and pressure on students, particularly those sitting for the National exams(KCSE,KCPE and KAPSEA) are palpable. Parents have found themselves searching for effective ways to support their children without adding to their burdens. In this article, we explore strategies and tips to help your child stay pressure-free during the exam period.

Effective Time Management: Encourage your child to create a study schedule that allows for breaks and leisure activities. Balancing study time with relaxation is essential to prevent burnout and reduce pressure.

Healthy Lifestyle Choices: A well-balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate sleep are essential for maintaining physical and mental well-being. Ensure your child maintains a healthy lifestyle throughout the exam period.

Open Communication: Foster an environment where your child feels comfortable discussing their concerns and fears about exams. Be a good listener and offer emotional support without judgment.

Teach Stress Management Techniques: Help your child learn stress management techniques such as deep breathing, mindfulness, or meditation. These techniques can be invaluable during times of high pressure.

Set Realistic Expectations: Encourage your child to set achievable goals. Unrealistic expectations can lead to unnecessary pressure. Celebrate small victories along the way.

Utilize Available Resources: Make sure your child knows where to find resources for assistance, whether it’s a teacher’s office hours, tutoring services, or educational apps. Seeking help when needed can reduce stress.

Create a Comfortable Study Environment: A well-organized, quiet, and comfortable study space can enhance concentration and reduce stress.

Limit Distractions: Minimize distractions during study hours. This includes putting away smartphones and creating a dedicated study time and space.

Practice Past Papers: Familiarity with the exam format and types of questions can boost confidence and reduce anxiety. Practice exams can also help assess readiness.

Stay Positive: Encourage a positive mindset. Remind your child that their worth isn’t determined by exam results and that they have the ability to overcome challenges.

Healthy Rewards: Use positive reinforcement to motivate your child. Offer rewards such as a special meal or outing after a successful study session or exam.

Encourage Breaks: Short breaks during study sessions can improve retention and reduce stress. Consider the Pomodoro technique, which involves 25-minute focused study intervals with short breaks.

Celebrate Effort, Not Just Outcomes: Emphasize the importance of hard work and effort rather than just the final grade. This can help reduce pressure and foster a love for learning.

Be Flexible: Recognize that every child is different. What works for one may not work for another. Be flexible in your approach and adapt to your child’s needs.

By implementing these strategies, parents can help their children navigate the pressures of exam periods while promoting a healthy and balanced approach to education. Remember that success is a journey, and with your support, your child can thrive academically without unnecessary stress.

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