Its exam time and this can be one of the most stressful periods in a family household.
That pressure causes stress and overwhelming emotions that lead to falling out with siblings and parents.
When we feel stressed, the fight or flight response is activated. This may cause fatigue, difficulty in getting up, poor appetite and increased irritability.
Here are some useful tips to dial down the pressure for your child coming up to exam time:
1. Eat Well
Both their body and brain need proper fuel for revising. During exam time food consumption plays a key role in ensuring they have an efficient metabolism.
Encourage fresh fruit, veg and high protein nuts. Include some starchy food at meal times, bread, potatoes, pasta, rice and breakfast cereals and choose whole grain varieties where possible. Starchy foods are broken down into glucose which is the main fuel for your brain.
Avoid junk food in the house as that tends to lead to a high and then a low. Small pieces of dark chocolate have been known to reduce level of stress hormones.
2. Sleep Early
Revising late into the night can make it very hard to get up for the actual exam and isn’t good for their health! Ensure some revision is done and prevent them from revising 1 hour before sleep, so that their brain has a chance to switch off.
Know that too much caffeine and energy drinks increases anxiety so try not to allow them consume too much to ensure good quality sleep.
Exercise releases the feel good hormones in the body (endorphin's) making them more productive afterwards! It helps your child to de-stress. Encourage your child to take some time out and head outside for a walk or jog.
4. Have some switch-off time and reward your child
Distraction is one coping mechanism for anxious thoughts and feelings. Reward your child with something they enjoy, an episode of your favourite TV show, book, or movie.
5. Practice calming techniques
This can also be a stressful time for you as a parent. Focus on breathing exercises. Take a few slow, deep breaths. This sends a message from the brain to the body to relax.
6. Develop positive self-talk
Repeat positive self-statements to your child like “You are well prepared." " Trust yourself, you know more than you think you do. "
7. Focus on doing your best. It will be ok. You too will be ok.