Is your child drowning in exam stress or any stress for that matter? In this article, we guide you on how to identify the signs!
Can you recall the pressure of sitting for a test or an exam? Although, everyone has had a handful of experiences when it comes to exams, you will surely agree that even until today, you will experience a certain degree of pressure as you feel the need to excel in it.
More so when most children grow up in a very competitive environment and what more if some parents are living up to the stereotypical image of ‘Asian Parenting’.
Here are some 3 tell-tale signs that your child may not coping with stress well :
Children tend to find it a bit more difficult to express themselves or even to recognise when they are feeling stressed up. So, for children, signs of stress may manifest itself in their behaviour. This includes acting irritable and moody or withdrawing from activities that they usually enjoy doing.
As for teenagers, a drastic change such as hanging out a new group of peers and avoiding you, as a parent, are signs that your child could be experiencing high levels of stress.
Pay close attention to your child’s behaviour and if there is a worrying change, you should consider talking to your child or getting him or her much needed help.
Sometimes, signs of stress can also appear in physical form. Constant complaints of tummy or headaches, especially during the exam period or a crucial time in your child’s life, can be a sign that your child is feeling a little bit too stressed up. Of course, this should only be said if your child has had a check by a doctor and has a clean bill of health.
Just like adults, being overwhelmed with stress can sometimes affect your appetite. If this symptom persists for some time, it can seriously affect your child’s general health, concentration and adversely, performance in his or her academics.
There are also children which may display signs from the other end of the spectrum, which is to eat more food than their usual. Either signs are a warning and must not be taken lightly.
As parents, it is vital that you guide your child to learn how to cope with stress, in a healthy way. Here are some things you can do :
As a parent, supporting your child especially during such stressful periods of life is a priceless act.
Encourage your child to talk to someone (could be you, a friend or teacher) whom he or she is comfortable with when feeling worried or stressed up and by doing so, can help your child keep things in perspective as your child voices out and receives advice.
Besides that, you could also take these other steps that will do wonders.
It would be ideal to provide your child with nutritious home cooked meals. A child that eats a balanced diet helps to ensure that your child feels well.
On top of that, feeding your child with a diet rich in fat and sugar, can cause discomfort, hyperactivity and moodiness.
Encourage your child to eat healthy and not just for every main meal but when it comes to snacks too.
The exam period is already tough enough and we all know how stress can affect your energy levels. So, if you child forgot to make his bed the morning of exam day, don’t be too hard on him.
It’s good to be flexible to a certain degree during exam period. Remember, it is just for a few days so stay calm and continue to be the supportive parent that your child needs.
Remind your child that feeling anxious or nervous during certain times of their life, is normal. It’s natural for their nerves to kick in but what you’ll need to do is to guide your child to have a positive outcome from it.
For example, when feeling nervous, encourage your child practice what he or she will be doing on exam day. For example, trying out some past exam papers, talking through the examination process with you.
Remember, every child is different. Hence, their coping mechanisms differ too. Some may learn to cope better from experience and some may take longer than usual.
No matter how your child may react to exam stress, your love, support and encouragement is the recipe to success!