WhichSchoolAdvisor.com spoke to 'Holistic Healing 4 Children’s' Jacqui Gray and Terri Allen, both OFSTED approved holistic educational therapists for children, teenagers and parents, certified co-active life coaches, and counselors for children and adolescents; to discover some top 'natural' tips parents can use to help their teens suffering from exam stress.
There’s no denying it; anxiety levels shoot up during the exam season! Competitiveness is on the rise and at this time of year both parents and children/teenagers are feeling their 'exam-stress' levels increase. Now, more than ever, there's an expectation that teens should achieve top marks, and this obviously creates a lot of pressure.
It’s very important for parents to remember that during this time it will be of great benefit to incorporate lots of de-stressing activities for their children/teenagers prior to, and during, the exam period. What happens in the mind has an affect on the body so mental wellbeing and physical wellbeing plays a vital role in maintaining balance and focus.
It helps if parents understand that their child/teenager needs to relax mentally and physically before he or she faces the challenge of exams. If they can be presented with ways to de-stress their life as much as possible, it will certainly have a positive impact on the way they feel and deal with the situation. A student’s performance will be harmed if they spend ALL their time cramming.
Try and stay calm and centered because your child/teenager will be picking up on your emotions. Let them know that you are there to support them and that you believe they can do it. Make sure they eat a well balanced diet; along with drinking plenty of water. On the day of an exam a protein breakfast is the most beneficial.
Students taking exams should avoid energy drinks as these contain large amounts of sugar. Ensure that they get restful sleep. And remember, it's best if they have at least a couple of hours before bedtime to unwind and relax. If they are anxious then you could consider giving them homeopathy for anxiety or Bach Flower remedies. Essential oils are also great at either having a calming or uplifting effect.
Try to help your son or daughter organise their time and work schedule so they can revise and recap in a calmer scheduled manner. Get them to put a timetable together so that they know what times they are going to study and revise - this then helps it to become more manageable. Praise them when they are working hard and when you see they are struggling you can maybe offer small incentives, which can be very effective. Make sure they get regular breaks and plenty of sleep, as the brain will work better.
Remember to get them moving! Plan plenty of time either outdoors and/or exercising each day. Minimise distractions while they study.
Always provide the right materials for their learning styles i.e. a dictaphone for the audio learner and/or let them listen to music while they study. Flash cards, highlighters and post it notes for the visual learner and maybe a high table to stand at for the kinesthetic learner so they can move about.
You could also try some guided visualisations to promote relaxation.
Try some positive affirmations on post-it notes in their bedroom. These will act as a reminder of what they can achieve. Give your child a reassuring ‘comforter’ to have with them during their exams. Good items to use are: a crystal, necklace, ring, bracelet or even a ‘lucky’ pen.
Why not teach your child some breathing exercises? These help children to calm their bodies if they get anxious, especially just before and during an exam. An anxiety attack can not only block out everything they have learned but can be frightening too.