Top tips on supporting your child during exams: As the exam season begins, Action for Children’s Parent Talk team issues top tips on supporting your child during exams
Exam stress can feel overwhelming for many children and young people, and the worry and anticipation can often ripple throughout the whole household. Last year, over 5 million students took their GCSEs and nearly 800,000 pupils sat their A Level exams [i]. With the exam season starting again, it may be tricky for parents and carers to know how to support their child throughout this often difficult period.
Action for Children’s Parent Talk coach, Joanna Miskin is on hand with top 5 tips to help children and young people manage feelings of stress:
Be mindful and don’t pressure them
As a parent or carer, you may have high expectations of your child to do well but be mindful that this could add extra pressure and can increase their stress levels. Every child wants to do well in their exams, so they’re already putting pressure on themselves – they may also be feeling the pressure from their teachers and peers. No matter how nervous you’re feeling, it’s important to stay positive! Remind your child of their strengths and qualities and let them know how proud you are of them regardless of the outcome of exams.
Help manage workload
You could help them create a timetable for studying or get colourful paper and pens to create revision cards to help break down information into more manageable bites. Prioritise breaks and time away from work. Physical activity is also a great way of helping to get rid of brain fog after a long time studying.
Feeling stressed can often manifest itself in a number of ways – you might notice your child snacking on junk food more often or skipping meals and lacking an appetite. It’s important that children and young people eat balanced meals regularly and drink enough water to help with mental alertness. Stepping away from studying to eat meals also forces them to take a real break for an hour or so!
The amount of sleep your child gets makes a difference to their mental health and ability to learn and retain information. If your child isn’t sleeping well, see if there’s any changes you could make to their bedtime routine to help them relax. This could include a bubble bath, reading, no phones in the bedroom, meditation or a walk.
Recognise if they need additional help
If your child doesn’t want to talk to you, try helping them identify a trusted friend or adult to check in with. Make sure your child knows they can also access support from professionals and peers online. If you’re worried about your child, contact your GP to explore extra support.
For free and confidential advice, visit Action for Children’s parents.actionforchildren.org.uk
Action for Children protects and supports vulnerable children and young people by providing practical and emotional care and support, ensuring their voices are heard and campaigning to bring lasting improvements to their lives. With 447 services across the UK, in schools and online, in 2021/22 we helped 671,275 children, young people and families. actionforchildren.org.uk
About Parent Talk
Parent Talk is a first-of-its-kind free online service which provides accessible and trustworthy advice, support, and reassurance for parents and carers of children aged 0-19 (or 25 if your child has additional needs). Parents and carers can access 1-to-1 advice from parenting coaches – trained family support workers – as well as support and advice articles across a range of common parenting challenges. Parent-talk.org.uk
 Provisional entries for GCSE, AS and A level: summer 2022 exam series – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
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