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How Can You Help Your Child Beat Exam Stress?

While the children need adult guidance, it is better to limit that to guidance from just the parents, and the kids' teachers. Neighbours and extended family is best kept out of this.

It’s exam time. It’s all about cramming and burning the midnight oil, until the arrival of summer vacation. Exams are stressful not only for children but also for parents. I have observed that even when there is not much parental pressure to score well, some kids tend to put that pressure on themselves. It could be due to their peer group at school.

For high school kids, particularly those facing the boards, “exam stress” is an inescapable reality. Everybody on the street would have something to say about marks and competition. There are some who would go the extra mile and offer unsolicited advice about good and bad career choices.

It’s mostly the mother, who has to act as the shock absorber and protect her children from unwanted pressure, though both parents should take responsibility. All the while ensuring our children stay focused and give their best in the exams, here are a few things we can do.

Before Exams

Guide, don’t prod

Children in our country have to decide the subject of their choice at the tender age of 15. Most children have no clue what they like and have no idea what their real strengths are. But this is ground reality, so how can you help?

A question like “What kind job do you think you will enjoy doing?” will get them to think differently about the subjects they are learning. They might like a particular subject, but be totally unaware of all the career options available for that subject. For e.g. many children opt out of Humanities not knowing that it could lead to a fruitful career in Law or even Psychology.

While the children need adult guidance, it is better to limit that to guidance from just the parents, and the kids’ teachers. The parents along with the child can attend career counselling sessions to understand what will work best for the child. We know our children best, and involving random neighbours and relatives just because they raised “successful” children themselves, will only complicate matters.

Each child has their own pace

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Best to let the children be. We can only raise kids to be disciplined and responsible.

As far as academic success is concerned, there is no point in comparing. Only one person can come first and as parents we know that the best. We’ve been through this same system too. For all the talk about “tough competition” and “impossible cut-off marks”, we do know that there is space in this world for all of us. Academic success doesn’t guarantee a successful life. Even a person who scored less than average marks in school can carve a niche for himself as say, a photographer. Marks are not everything and kids should be made to understand that. Children should build the ability to pick themselves up again and again after setbacks.

During Exams

Some work, some play

All work and no play will lead to a dull brain. Ensure that your child gets to breathe in the fresh morning air. A 30 minute workout in the warm morning sun or a game or similar activity in the open will freshen both the mind and body. Another 30 minute walk in the evening will be a nice break for a child who is cooped up inside the house the whole day studying.


Stress often spoils a child’s appetite, leading to low immunity and sickness. This can add more tension in the house.

Get your child to mask up while stepping out, during the days leading to the exam. Keep tasty snacks ready – can’t be all junk as chocolates and biscuits hardly offer any health benefits. Can’t be all healthy – as it can be depressing for a child who is already stressed out. Studying can make a child crave for sugar.

Limit junk snacks to once a day. Fruits, peanut bars, chocolate granolas, cheese sandwiches, flavored yoghurt are all definitely better options to fight the sugar cravings.

After Exams

Best not to discuss the paper and worry about something you now have no control over. It is over and you made it out in one piece! That’s enough reason to celebrate! Enjoy your Summer Vacation!

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About the Author


I am a Japanese language trainer with over 10 years of experience in teaching and mentoring students. I have lived in Japan for many years and enjoy sharing insights from my experience in the areas read more...

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