From attempting past years' exam questions to last minute cramming sessions, studying for exams can stress your kids out. As a parent, how can you support your kids? Dr Tan Hwee Sim
, Specialist in Psychiatrist & Consultant, Raffles Counselling Centre
, shares some tips to help you and your kids navigate through this period:
Give Them Emotional Support
Your kids’ stress levels will increase during exam time. The last thing you want to do is to burden them with addition stress.
"Children may be less familiar with managing their stress as they have less experience encountering and dealing with it," says Dr Tan. “Avoid being another source of stress for your children. Instead, have realistic expectations about your children’s abilities. Recognise the effort they put into studying, and give encouragement and assurance to them.”
Give Them Proper Nourishment
Your kids will need all the help they can get to perform at their best. Improve their mental performance by ensuring they get proper nourishment, or give them a children’s multivitamin
. Look for those containing vitamin B, which strengthens brain function, as well as iron, calcium, and zinc, which improves your kids’ ability to handle stress.
Alternatively, you may want to support their immunity by giving them a daily supplement containing vitamin C
or zinc. To make the supplement more palatable for your kids, look for those formulated for kids, since they most likely will not contain any unappealing taste.
Let Them Get Enough Rest
Your kid may be tempted to pull an all-nighter to study as their exams draw near. This may do more harm than good as they may end up not being able to perform their best during the exam.
"A good night’s sleep enhances your kids’ mental performance and their ability to retain information," says Dr Tan Hwee Sim. "When sleeping, the brain processes what was learnt and cements that knowledge into its long-term memory. This stabilises and protects it from being forgotten."
In general, your kids should be getting at least nine hours of sleep. Establish a regular relaxing routine before bedtime and encourage them to get adequate rest. If they are having difficulty sleeping, here's how you can help them get better sleep
Help Them Create a Study Schedule
Your kids may feel overwhelmed at the amount of preparation needed for their exams. Work with them to create a study schedule that they are comfortable with, rather than creating it for them. For example, let them set their own revision or study hours. This breaks their revision into more manageable pieces and makes it less daunting, which may help them perform better.
Give Them Regular Breaks
During the exam period, you may want to maximise your kids’ study time by imposing restrictions such as limiting their television, smartphone, or video game time. However, giving your kids inadequate recreation time may impair their ability to concentrate and retain information.
So, when working with your kid to create a study schedule, remember to set aside some time for them to recharge and refocus.
Reviewed by Dr Tan Hwee Sim, Specialist in Psychiatry & Consultant, Raffles Counselling Centre