It’s one of the most nerve-wracking times of the year as a student – exam time! Whether your child is facing their end-of-year exams (EOYs), prelims for a major exam, or the O or A levels, it’s bound to be a high-stress period for most.
The pressures to get good grades and the high-paced nature of revision can really get into the heads of our children and teens, causing them to feel moody, become reclusive, or experience lowered self-esteem. Thus, in light of growing concerns over our students’ mental health – and rightfully so – it’s high time we also take a look at how we help our child manage their mental health through this time.
Study with a plan
Taking care of one’s mental health doesn’t mean running away from the issue. It is finding the best way to deal with it! When it comes to studying, starting early and planning out a schedule is the best way to avoid that last-minute panic.
A big part of feeling stressed comes from the fear of not being able to cover everything that needs to be studied. Think about it: If you have ample time to finish studying before the exams, and you know your material pretty well, what is there to fear during the exam?
For younger students, parents may want to help their child draft out a study plan. For older students, you can remind your child, and request that they pin up their study plan in a visible area in the house – this makes it more likely they will actually create a study plan, and helps with accountability.
The easiest way to plan is to list out all the topics that need to be studied, and then spread them out evenly from the day you want to start studying up till the week before the exam. From there, you can then tweak the schedule according to other factors, like allocating more time to difficult topics, and less time to topics you already know well.
Put things in perspective
It may seem like life and death to them now, but the truth is, no one is going to remember how well your child does on this exam 10 or 20 years from now. By lowering the emphasis on grades, you can reduce the pressure your child feels.
Remind your child that their worth is not dependent on their grades. Put the focus on the learning experience. What you truly want them to take away are values like diligence, discipline, and perseverance, regardless of how well they do in the end.
Of course, we don’t mean that grades are not important. In fact, the impact of getting good grades is often a huge motivational factor for students. The key is to balance both points of views and set realistic expectations.
While the results may be crucial for things like subject streaming, choices of schools, or further educational pathways, ask yourself: is it worth it to sacrifice my child’s mental and emotional wellness for these?
Most people study by sitting at their desks almost the whole day, getting up only occasionally for toilet breaks and meal breaks. But this lack of physical activity and unchanging scenery can cause some to feel very cooped up and lethargic.
The solution is simple: exercise! A well-known stress-buster, exercise gets your blood pumping, which also elevates alertness. The best thing is, you don’t need to spend a lot of time to feel these effects. Encourage your child to take just 15 minutes a day to do some simple exercises at home, or go for a jog around your estate.
Going outside to exercise can have added benefits for one’s mental wellness, allowing students to take their mind off their books, soak in nature, and give their eyes a break from all that close work. To encourage your child further, you can schedule family outings to exercise together!
Listen to them
To counter the stresses of exam preparation, students often find it helpful to have someone to confide in. However, some children and teens may react the opposite way, choosing not to talk to anyone because they feel that no one will understand them.
As parents, you need to make yourself available for the times your child needs to speak to you. It may help to initiate the conversation with your child and let them know your door is open for them to talk to you. Sometimes, by making the first move, your child will feel more comfortable coming to you subsequently.
Alternatively, if you know your child has a few trusted friends, relatives, or a counsellor whom they speak to, don’t restrict them from meeting or calling these ‘helplines’ amidst exam prep time – they may need it even more now!
As much as we worry about our child’s studies, it is also worth it to pay attention to their mental health. Remember, it is not about coddling up to them or telling them studying isn’t important – but, it is about setting healthy boundaries and habits for work, rest, and play!
Having trouble staying disciplined? Tuition may be helpful for some students! Regular tuition (not too last minute!) can give your child the external motivation and push to keep on track with their studies. The materials and lessons can also speed up their revision time, giving them more confidence and assurance before the D-Day.
Look no further if you are on the lookout for effective and accessible tuition services. We offer almost all subjects from primary to JC levels, including Science and Math tuition for IP students, and top-quality A Level Physics tuition. With our team of highly qualified and experienced ex-MOE teachers, we are able to assist students in pulling up their grades through engaging and convenient small group tuition.