Preparing for the Junior or Leaving Cert exams can be a stressful time for the whole family. With mock exams upon us, your son or daughter may be feeling pressure themselves and, as a parent, you may also be feeling anxious and unsure of how best to help. Anxiety and stress around exam time is normal, but we have some information that might help you to support your son or daughter and to remain calm.
Expecting certain grades from your son or daughter may make them feel like they have failed if they don’t achieve what they thought was expected of them. Talk to them as well, to see if they are putting themselves under unnecessary stress.
Encourage exercise and regular time away from study. If your son or daughter plays sports or has hobbies of any kind, urge them to keep them up, even during busy study times – breaks from study actually help them to study better!
Have plenty of healthy snacks in the fridge / cupboards and encourage hydration with water. Starting the day with a good breakfast can help too – porridge, muesli and eggs are good slow-releasing energy foods.
Encourage a normal bed time and a wind down routine to help them switch off. Studying either at night or early morning is ok, but doing both can cause fatigue and low energy. Enough sleep is vital around exam time.
Do they want you to help them revise or to get organised? Maybe they need you to help reduce distractions in the house so they can concentrate. Or maybe they would like you or another family member to help take their mind off study when they take breaks. Good communication can help to figure it out.
Remind your son or daughter that exams are not the be-all and end-all. Yes exams are important, but they will not be defined by their exam results. Regardless of grades achieved, there will be many career options or avenues to get where they want to be.
We have further information on exam stress if you would like to read more.