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How to help children and adolescents who stress a lot about exams

Feeling a little anxious before an exam is perfectly normal, and it is something that frequently happens to children and/or adolescents during exam times.

And it is that we all experience a little stress in situations over which we do not have absolute control , or when we know that we are going to be evaluated in some way.

However, there are some cases in which this stress can become so high that it can even become incapacitating. And when it happens to our children it is a cause for concern for parents.

If this is your case, do not worry, there are some recommendations that you can put into practice to help your children in these situations. We tell you how to help children and adolescents who get very stressed about exams .

How to help children and adolescents who stress a lot about exams

Before taking exams, our children’s stress level can increase considerably.

But this is not something irremediable , as there are several activities that your child can do, and that will help him manage stress. They are between them:

Study Wisely: Get Organized

One of the mistakes that many students make is studying the day before the exam. This only creates stress and anxiety. The ideal is to study all the topics in advance and only do a brief review or reading of the subject the day before taking the exam.

For this it is important to be clear and organize well the weeks and the topics to study, to study without cramming with information.

And you, as a father or mother, can help your child divide the topics they need to study and manage the time to do it , leaving rest periods between one and the other.

take care of food

Food affects all areas of human life. That is why it is important to pay close attention to what our children eat during the exam and evaluation season.

Try to make them eat as balanced as possible, minimizing the consumption of spicy foods, sugars, unhealthy fats and flours and processed foods. Green foods, such as broccoli, pumpkin or courgettes, are ideal, as they favor oxygenation of the brain.

Remember that your child needs glucose for his brain to work well (especially in times of stress), and therefore he needs to have energy and be well fed.

Exercise and get active

Exercising on a regular basis helps the overall well-being of people, as it not only improves physical appearance and health , but also helps our brain to secrete hormones related to happiness, which translates into a significant reduction in stress .

It is not necessary to carry out intense training days; a simple walk or doing any type of physical activity with some regularity is enough. One piece of advice: if it is outdoors, it is much more beneficial.

Sleep well and respect the rhythms

Sleep, like food, is very important for our brain to be in optimal condition (our brain needs routines, and that these are healthy).

This is why it is necessary to have a good night’s sleep. Make sure your children sleep as well as possible during exam time. You can help them with relaxation exercises to do it , or visualization (imagine pleasant and relaxing scenes before going to sleep), or resort to story time, for example.

In relation to relaxation, we encourage you to do muscle and mental relaxation exercises with them the night before the exams, to help release tension and be able to sleep better. A good night’s sleep will help you better manage anxiety.

control breathing

It has been proven that one of the most useful resources for controlling and reducing stress levels is breathing. When we have high levels of anxiety, our breathing is altered, becoming faster, more agitated and shallow.

Learning simple exercises to breathe with more control and calm, helps the little ones to relieve stress ( yoga can be very useful in these cases).

A simple exercise is to inhale for a count of four in your mind, hold for a count of four, exhale for a count of four and hold again for a count of four as well (always count in your mind). Figures may vary, depending on what your child needs.

Recreate yourself and look for moments to disconnect

During exam time, our children may be immersed in a lot of worry and anxiety overload. This is why it is necessary to have an exhaust valve to help relieve pressure.

It is important to leave some free time to distract yourself and do something that you like, such as going out with your friends, going to the movies or doing any other activity that helps you feel better .

Sometimes it is necessary to remind them at this time to focus on what they are doing, not to worry about studying and to enjoy themselves (there is time for everything; the important thing is to respect their own rhythms and organize themselves well).

“Sometimes the most productive thing you can do is relax.”

-Mark Black-

Tips to apply during the exam

Once the time to study has passed and the time has come to take the exams, stress can play a trick. It is then here when we can apply the following tips. So, accompany your child to:

  • Appear for the exam confidently and with a good attitude. If you feel confident you will have less stress. Encourage him to try it, even if it doesn’t really feel like it.
  • Once he has the test in front of him, have him read each question carefully before answering. Above all, do not rush to respond.
  • If you feel very uncomfortable or tense, you can move a little or change the position in which you are sitting, to help relax your muscles a little.
  • If you go blank before a question , do not be distressed; to jump to the next one and then go back to the first one.
  • Remind him of the importance of breathing. If you feel very distressed, breathe slowly, mindfully, and focus on how the air moves in and out of your lungs. You can close your eyes for a few moments to concentrate.
  • Keep in mind that there is no rush, that you do not have to turn in the exam early, and that it is okay if you are the last person to turn it in.

If the stress before the exams is significant and is not relieved with the application of these tips, it is recommended that you go with your child to a specialist to determine the source of the anxiety and the possible difficulties in managing it.

In addition, a professional will be able to offer you strategies that allow you to deal with these situations and understand that it is not as serious a situation as you may be feeling.

Of course, we will always validate their emotions and put ourselves in their place: how did you feel as a child , or as a child, facing exam time?

Photos | cover (freepik)

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