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Education|25 April 2022

Are your children stressed about exams? They are not alone

Written by Nivedita Garg
Founder of Joyful Parenting, NLP practisioner, YALE, Hardvard & UC San Diego certified personal coach with over 10 Years of experience in helping individuals beat stress and lead joyful lives

Stress is like food getting cooked in a pressure cooker. The pressure keeps building up and, just like the whistles in the cooker, we too get signals from our brain. We feel irritable and low, people around us feel we isolate ourselves or we tend to fall sick more often. While we manage to finish our task, we end up emotionally drained. This is normal and can’t be completely avoided, but it can be handled better. 

Let’s understand why you and your children feel stressed. 

  1. Repetitively thinking of a particular scenario or issue.
  2. Self-doubt.
  3. Attempting to pre-determine the outcome of the scenario. 

You, as parents, and your children, don’t want this exam tension, and these thoughts aren’t intentional. Stress becomes a subconscious habit, and you use external situations like exams or school to justify this stress. It’s just an automatic reaction your brain releases, and when you change this pattern, you can react positively to the same situation. 

Tips on exam stress management

1. Small goals

Children must set smaller goals. For instance, if they complete one chapter in a day, they should now aim to complete 3/4th of it instead, and shut the book before their battery dies. It’ll boost their confidence because they have completed the task at hand easily. 

2. The Kaizen Effect: Get 1% Better Each Day

1% better each day, compounded over a year (365 days), is 3700% or 37 times better each year. Apply this concept to ensure children complete one study-related activity every day, however small it may be. It is important to be consistent. 

3. Celebrate the small wins 

Once they finish the task, they can celebrate and reward themselves. The reward could be watching a show, going for a walk, listening to music, eating dessert, dipping their feet in hot water or any other activity that makes them feel pampered. You can help by ordering in their favourite dishes, playing a game, cooking or engaging in any other such activity with them. A non-study-related activity where you interact with them for who they are. 

4. Find a hobby

Children should have something to look forward to, a break where they can relax for a few minutes. They can read a book, play a sport or a video game, cook, paint, dance, listen to music, do yoga, lego, or help at home.

5. Switchwords

Switchwords determine and alter your energy from one dimension to another. These powerful words can harness your energy. They speak directly to your subconscious mind, activating your ability to transform dreams into reality. Repetitively thinking of something will release childrens’ minds from exam tension, and will help create a new productive pattern. Children can repeat the phrase “Golden Sunrise” until they feel better. This Master Switchword helps in doing away with unwanted sluggishness, exhaustion, trauma, anxiety, and procrastination. It invokes anticipation, vigour, hope, accomplishment, achievement, and the spring of life. “Golden Sunrise”  produces happiness for your inner self and harmonises you with your truest self.

6. Open up and talk about it 

If unaddressed, the pressure will keep building up and can eventually explode. When children feel pressurised, they must open up and talk about it to parents, experts and life coaches. There’s nothing wrong with talking to a coach. In fact, it takes a lot of courage to own up and take action, to take accountability for your challenges. Coaches can help with different techniques to cope with student stress in a productive manner that will help the child grow.

7. Do something bigger than you

When children perform an activity that isn’t related to their problems, rather it helps another person, the student stress will disappear. An example is helping someone at the grocery store, or their parents, siblings, or even the community they live in for just a few minutes a day. They will get a bird’s eye perspective of their life as they take a step back from their situation. They will realise things are not as bad as they seem. 

You and your children must understand that exam stress is a temporary emotion. It is just like any other emotion, and when you become AWARE of this, you will automatically find more ways to cope! The result of the exam does not define your child, but the way they coped with it is an indication of their character. 

Grades are Not the End, a guide for parents !

As parents, accept that it’s their life – you can guide them, but handholding and coaxing will only lead to them becoming dependent and underconfident. Use their exams to teach them coping skills, to show them being stressed is easy, but it takes a lot of courage to handle tough situations. 

Even when you experience tricky situations, respond calmly so you can show them that this too shall pass and that they should face challenges boldly.

The views expressed are that of the expert alone.

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