Exam stress is something most of us have suffered at some point in our lives, whether we remember our own experiences or are living through those of our children.
As Term 1 winds down for a much-needed break after the whirlwind start to the year, it’s timely to think about how to start the new term on the right foot – a term when many of children have half-yearly exams or some big assessments on the table.
“…today’s teens are one of the most vulnerable generations…”
Australian psychologist, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg suggests today’s teens are one of the most vulnerable generations, facing challenges their parents and grandparents didn’t have. Exams are additional pressure.
In an editorial in the South China Morning Post, Dr Carr-Gregg says adolescents’ needs and behaviours can sometimes seem indecipherable, yet as parents, we need to be world experts in our own kids – including knowing when to back off and let them face challenges on their own, or when to set boundaries.
So, how do you go about recognising if your child is suffering from stress? Online counselling service for young people, Kids Helpline identifies the following signs:
- Feeling confused
- Losing touch with friends
- Feeling moody and low
- Having trouble making decisions
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Lack of motivation to do anything
- Trouble sleeping or getting out of bed
- Tense muscles or headaches
- Having an upset stomach or feeling sick
- Fidgeting, nail biting, teeth grinding
Keep in mind, some children will mask these symptoms. That’s where Dr Carr-Gregg’s advice of getting be the world expert in your child kicks in.
He also recommends a couple of apps to help kids when face-to-face help isn’t available. Something our boarding families might like to consider. These include ReachOut Breathe (by ReachOut Australia) and WorryTime.
ReachOut Australia also has some other suggested apps to help manage exam stress as well as some study hack videos – tips and tricks to help prepare for exams. We particularly love weighting the pen with batteries or rubbers as training for writing essays!
Our schools are aware of the pressure some of our children feel at times through the year. So, don’t forget to get in contact with your school counsellor if you have any concerns about your children.
We’re going to be chatting about this topic on Facebook Live on Thursday, 12 April at 7pm EST. Join us on our Facebook Page to make your comments, share your tips and ask questions. Maybe you’ve used one of the apps? Do you have a ritual you use in your family that helps keep everyone calm? We’d love to hear from you.