High school life is full of new and exciting opportunities, not only socially but academically. Along with mandatory courses, teens often get to choose great interest courses. It’s an exciting playground for them. As parents, we try and let them explore, discover and find their interests and focus. All the while supporting and providing guidance.
While our teens may be able to handle their daily school and homework assignments, exam time is different. Anyone with a high school teen knows this is a time of increased stress levels. Unfortunately, teen brains don’t learn or retain information when they are under too much stress so parent support during this time is important.
Whether your teen: a) appears unscathed about exams, asking to go to the movies the night before with an aloofness that makes you want to snap “Are you kidding me!”… OR b) has barricaded themselves in their room, refusing to take breaks or eat… OR c) is hopefully somewhere in between, everyone can use support during high stress times. Even as adults we appreciate support.
Our job as parents is to help them cope with stress so they can learn, study and do well. Here are 10 things you can do:
- Ask about their exam schedule. Encourage them to: Plan (writing on a calendar can help); Chunk out their study time; study harder subjects when well rested.
- Ensure a distraction-free study space.
- Give them a break on chores.
- Encourage good sleep habits: keep the house calm with lights down.
- Be understanding. Emotions run high during this time, let them know you are willing to help once they’ve cooled down.
- Go for a walk with them. Teens need a break from studying every 45 minutes.
- Provide healthy snacks, meals and drinks when they are studying.
- Help them manage other obligations. Is their hockey practice going to reduce stress and rejuvenate them through physical activity? Or will it stress them out even more? Each child is unique, discuss options with them.
- Help them manage their exam stress. Encourage them and be realistic about your academic expectations.
- Take care of yourself. If you’re OK, they will be OK. Think about how you handle stress… role modelling positive coping strategies is a great way for teens to learn.
Do you have any tried and true strategies that have helped your teens through exam time? Share with us…