It’s that time of the year where students are starting to batten down and prepare for important year-end examinations.
There are the PSLE (Primary School Leaving Examinations), ‘O’ Levels and ‘A’ Levels in Singapore, and the SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia) and UPSR (Ujian Pencapaian Sekolah Rendah) in Malaysia.
Parents of students who will be sitting for these exams will no doubt want to do their best to support and help their kids through this highly stressful period.
Check out these five ways you can help your child manage exam stress better.
1. Talk to them about exam nerves
It’s important to communicate to your child that feeling nervous before an exam is entirely normal.
Encourage them to share their feelings or fears with you. Listen to their concerns and help them process their emotions.
Always be supportive and give constructive feedback while avoiding being critical and negative.
Perhaps you can share a simple story about how you overcome work stress so they can understand that stress is something that everyone goes through at different times.
2. Give them a balanced diet
Prepare well-balanced foods for your children to make sure they get the right nutrition and also avoid illness.
Cut down on high sugar and high fat foods as they can make kids hyperactive and moody, and stay away from caffeinated drinks.
According to a report by the BBC, research has shown that students who eat breakfast perform better in exams.
Choose slow-release carbs, such as whole grain bread, for slow-release energy, and proteins such as milk and eggs to keep them feeling full for longer.
Also, make sure they drink a lot of water and stay well hydrated to avoid tiredness and reduced alertness.
3. Make sure they get enough sleep
Your kids may want to forgo sleep in order to cram in more study time but it is far healthier to encourage them to get to bed early.
According to Dr Rachel Dawkins from the Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, kids who regularly get enough sleep have improved attention, behaviour, learning, memory and overall mental and physical health.
Kids aged six to 12 should get between nine and 12 hours of sleep, while teenagers between the ages of 13 and 18 should get eight to 10 hours of sleep a night.