How can I manage my child’s examination fear?
A child’s academic journey is marked with examinations, they can sometimes act as a hurdle that causes more stress than the other aspects of schooling. Exams have become very important in this competitive world, where proving yourself time and again is vital. Because of this, examination fears have elevated in children presently.
The examination period is marked with apprehension and anxiety, stressing both the students and their parents. However, as a parent, they must not pass on their fears to the child as it would panic the child. Make the day of examination be like any other day of schooling.
Examination anxiety is not associated with a particular type of student, it can affect any age group. Some students are better at dealing with the stress, and some suffer the effects of exam fear and end up performing inadequately. Often leading to panic attacks or depression, which affect the grades of the student and ends up getting, causing a self-fulfilling prophecy.
During exam season, students tend to panic and have unrealistic expectations and make study schedules that are not practical. They must learn to get a clear head, calmly make decisions regarding the time they have to prepare. Sweating, being ill, palpitations, etc. can be a result of not being able to cope with the fear, this can end up getting worse as time goes on.
It can shape their entire understanding of their own abilities, making them feel inadequate or worthless. This is something that can stay with them and negatively impact their decisions for the rest of their life. Parents should keep in mind certain things to help their child deal with their examination fear:
1. Be alert: It is natural for children to be worried about exams and their results, a certain level of stress is even good for peak performance. But parents need to be alert and note any signs and symptoms of their child being more anxious or irritable than usual. Low self-esteem, insomnia, crying spells, etc. should be noticed and acknowledged.
2. Avoid Nagging: Nagging the child to study, even though you mean well can backfire. It may force them to deflect and pretend to study just to keep you off. The best approach is to motivate them, is to make their own schedule that they can stick to and let them come to you for any guidance.
Parents should be concerned with providing a calm and supportive environment where the child feels motivated to study. Rather than imposing harsh rules “for their own good” try to moderate things that might trouble and distract your children from concentrating.
3. Attitude: It is always important that the child feels free to talk about any problems they’re facing or need help with. An attitude that the parent displays is usually emulated by the kids, how the parents feel about exams and studies is crucial to their own understanding.
Exams should not be viewed as something of a hardship that will define the child forever. The parent should communicate the importance of preparing and trying their best to do well, and not worrying about the result. The exam is not the focus of their education and children should know and internalize this.
4.Healthiness: Being healthy is imperative, being ill during this time will only make the exam seem more troublesome. The parent should look after the eating habits of the child and make sure that they also are physically engaged in activities. Moderation is key, sitting in one place, in front of a textbook all day won’t help them score well, in fact, it can make it harder to concentrate.
For a more productive study time, children should be allowed to make time for exercise and playing, so that they can fully invest in what they do in the time they have. Eating healthy and keeping a fresh mind by exercising can go a long way.
5.Personality: Some children internalize their failures or weaknesses, this causes major blows to their confidence and can cause them into a pit of low self-esteem. Parents should notice how their child reacts to failure and try to encourage them and help them strategize.
One bad grade isn’t the end of the world, but in a haze of fear and anxiety, children may not realize this. It is the parents’ job to guide them to do better since they know their child best. You must help them identify their weaknesses and their achievements and help them make changes accordingly. They shouldn’t avoid an entire subject because they’re not good at it, rather they must tackle it by preparing for it.
6.Limits: Understand that there’s a limit to your child’s abilities, and your expectations should be in line with this, enforcing unrealistic standards will only exacerbate their fears. Children should be encouraged to do their level best because only the preparation is in their hands.
They should be taught not to blame themselves for anything, and just focus on learning. Let the child understand their own abilities and enhance them in the time leading up to the exams, be a pillar of support and guidance for them.
Parents play an important role in managing their child’s fears, however certain things can be debilitating for the child. If the child seems unable to cope even with the help of the parents, they should be encouraged to speak to a counselor.
Sleep disturbances, low concentration, low self-esteem can be symptoms of another problem, and a professional can help in identifying and dealing with this. At the end of the day, the most important lesson is that one’s exam won’t define them forever, it is only a stepping stone into their future, where there will be many more tests.