If you have a teen sitting their exams over the next couple of weeks tensions may be high in the house and, along with your child, you might be feeling a tad stressed and unsure of how best to support them through this time. Well, stress less, because here are some easy and practical ways in which you can help.
Don't be a nag
It may be hard not to nag your teen if you feel that they are deploying avoidance techniques when it comes to revising, but try and support them instead. Help them devise a timetable which allows reasonable study breaks and 'down time', where they can head off and see their friends.
Sleep is important and your teen has up until now likely to have demonstrated good sleeping skills, however, under exam conditions, even the most sleepiest of teens can feel stressed and unable to drift off, so it is important that you ensure that they get a good night's sleep - hitting the sack at a reasonable hour, avoiding tech in the hour before bed and removing devices from their room over night. This will stop them going down the 'scroll black hole' and also make sure they are out of bed in the morning - because they will be desperate to catch up online!
Keep them well fed
Your teen may lose their appetite, or, if they are home alone a lot during the day, they may not be bothered to eat or eat properly, so make sure that you have their favourite meals ready for dinner, a special breakfast prepared and easy to heat up or put on a plate lunches made up for them. Snacks are important too, just try to avoid anything too sugary, as this can affect concentration and focus and disrupt sleep.
If you can, try and have meal times as a family to help your teen feel supported and have a space to chat about their exams if they want to, or to forget about them by chatting about other things instead.
Exercise is a great stress reliever and releases happy endorphins, so encourage your teen to make time for exercise. Offer to be their taxi to and from the gym, swimming pool or sports club, or offer to walk/run/cycle with them, which is a great way to get them to open up about how they are feeling.
Let some things slip
Tensions may be high and your teen may be a little more snappy than usual, but try not to take offense or punish them. Remember, it will soon be over, so show them some empathy and try not to react.
If you can, try and get siblings on side too, to show support rather than be disruptive.
Make sure that your teen knows that you are available to help, should they need you. Be it quizzing them on the periodic table or historical facts, knowing that they can call on you will make all the difference.
Make sure that they know that you are always there for them whatever happens and that you love them no matter what.
Look after yourself
Exams are stressful for parents too. Supporting your child means that you will be their sounding board, you will feel what they feel and emotionally it can be exhausting. Just remember that you have got them this far through their life, so you can absolutely get them through this too.
Make sure that you eat properly, sleep properly and find time for a breather - sound off to a friend or your partner if needs be or head out for some exercise, if you are looking after yourself, you will be better able to look after your teen.
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