School life is a lot more pressurised and intense than it was a generation ago and ChildLine counselled over 3,000 young people in 2016 suffering from exam stress.
Helping your child find the right balance of doing well and not feeling too much pressure can be tricky, however, there are things you can do to help curb their anxiety levels. According to the NHS Choices there are certain signs to look out for such as no longer enjoying activities they previously loved, disrupted sleep, tearfulness, argumentative behaviour and negative or low mood.
Pressure to do well can be overwhelming and with the 11+ tests looming many children will be feeling anxious so here’s our advice and tips on how to beat exam stress.
1. Be calm, positive and reassuring and let them know how you have overcome stressful experiences in your life - they are not alone.
2. Despite the brain being one of the smallest organs in the body, it uses up to 20% of the energy we need every day. Regular healthy meals are vital for your child’s health and concentration.
3. Exercise helps to oxygenate the brain and release tension, helping you to keep calm and mentally relax. Try and find a fun and physical activity that you can do as a family.
4. Encourage your child to get a good night’s sleep. Eight hours is optimum and keep to a regular pattern
5. Drink well. Make no mistake water is your friend and keeping hydrated will cut the risk of headaches and grogginess and increase their concentration.
6. It’s normal to want the best for your children but adding to the pressure is not helpful. Let them know that failing is not the end of the world.
7. Arrange some downtime for them in between exams.