Is there a more stressful time in a childs life than exam time? Whether it’s GSCE’s and A-Levels or the all important transfer tests for primary 7’s.
Most kids will find it stressful at exam time and we, as parents, can sometimes feel helpless, so we’ve put together a few quick tips to help you and your little one get through this tough time.
During exam time - in fact at any times of high stress - children usually need extra understanding, comfort and nurturing from their parents and carers to help them feel secure and confident. Be mindful to how children are feeling as well as provide comfort and attention when needed. Perhaps let the “little” things go for now.
Help your child talk about how they feel. Listen with empathy so they feel understood and know that their feelings are normal. Help your children to understand that talking about feelings can help to manage them. Getting feelings out in the open might help you, as a parent, understand what your child is going through.
Teach children to be brave by showing them you believe they can do it, and encourage them to ‘have a go’ even if they are feeling nervous. Providing positive feedback for effort, celebrating successes and encouraging them to keep trying will help your children to feel confident in approaching assessments.
Breathing slowly to calm down and helping them to imagine themselves coping well during a test are really helpful ways of managing anxiety. Doing it with them is a fun way to start.
Show your child how you cope positively with feeling anxious or stressed by thinking out loud e.g., “I feel a bit nervous, but I’m going to try my best”. Remaining calm and positive when your child is feeling anxious can help them to feel more confident.
Talking through what will happen. You may even wish to talk to the school about where the test will take place and see if you can visit beforehand. Many big tests can be held in the school hall or even off-site.
Brainstorm situations that might arise during the test and then come up with possible solutions with them. For example, ask them what are three things that they might be able to do if they freeze in the exam and feel sick – possible strategies include taking 10 slow breaths to calm down and refocus, taking a sip of water if it is available or letting a teacher know they feel unwell.
For example, looking through the paper and completing questions they know they can answer first before trying more difficult ones.
From the Mums NI team, good luck to all sitting exams.Tagged with: 11 plus, advice for exam time, exam help, primary school exams