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How to support your kids during exams

Have I studied enough, what if I forget something, what if they ask me something I haven’t reviewed? Sound familiar?

Whether we are children, teenagers or adults, we all experience the same fears, adrenaline rush, pressure and doubt, when preparing for an exam.

Preparing for a speech in primary school or preparing for our H.S.C in Year 12, triggers the same biological responses within the body, in accordance to the pressures experienced before and during exams.

The main difference determining your experience, is your age! Each developmental point in our educational journey comes with its own pressures. In today’s article, we’re going to focus on teenagers and young adults, and explore some tips that can support your kids during this time.

There’s a lot going on when you’re a teenager or young adult. Lots of factors can influence how you feel and experience your world. There are raging hormones, gender curiosity, changing body image, acne, career options, jobs, parents, alcohol, socialising, friends, you name it, it’s happening! Too much! Add onto that, EXAMS, and we have a recipe for additional mental, emotional and physical stress.

Below are some tips that may help teenagers and young adults, regardless of their age, keep it together during these challenging times.

  • Sleep- This is one of the most important habits to get yourself into. Aim to get 8-10 hours of sleep per night. Getting a great night’s sleep before an exam will make the difference between, being able to retain information, concentration and interest in your exam. If you don’t have a good night’s rest, you may experience, brain fog, feeling unmotivated and sluggish and fatigue.

  • Water- Stay hydrated! Kids, teenagers and young adults should aim at drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water per day. Signs of dehydration include; feeling tired, thirsty, hungry, lightheaded, dark and smelly pee.

  • Avoid stimulants- Teenagers and young adults are exposed to a variety of stimulants these days. Energy drinks, caffeinated drinks and alcohol. It’s easy to reach for stimulants when you’re feeling tired and need an instant energy buzz! The truth is, they’ll make you feel good for about 5 mins and then you’ll start to feel the downward effects of caffeine.

  • Devices- Practice sleep hygiene. Stay off all devices 1-2 hours before going to bed. Blue light interferes with melatonin, which is a hormone that is naturally involved in your body’s natural sleep cycle and helps improve our sleep quality and quantity.

  • Eat well- Leading up to your exams and during your exams, eat a good variety of foods to help support your nervous system and enhance your body’s ability to produce energy. Try to consume fresh produce, eat regularly and keep your portions small.

  • Be organised- To help minimise unnecessary stress, make sure your child knows the location of the exam and is equipped with everything they need during the exam, like; Pencils, calculators, pens, paper etc

  • Quiet space- Providing a quiet space for your teenager to study and prepare is important. A dedicated noise free zone allows your teenager to feel safe and relax into the intention of the space.

  • Study breaks- This is a great habit to teach from an early age. Taking a study break every 2 hours and encouraging them to get up and move, breathe, stretch and have a change of scenery, will reinvigorate their body and mind.
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