7 Ways to Help Your Teen Through Year-End Exam Stress | EDUBOSTON

7 Ways to Help Your Teen Through Year-End Exam Stress

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

It’s hard to power through the stress and workload in these last few weeks of school, with so many final projects due, final exams, and grades depending on them.  It’s made harder because the end is so close and the sun and warm weather are calling to students to spend more time outside and less time with books and screens.  Yes, it’s difficult, but the end of the school year is the time to delay gratification. Easier said than done. 

What can YOU do to support your teen and help them do their best in these important last few weeks?   

1. Remind Them of Their Goals:  Now is the time to remind your students and teenage children of their goals – to remind and encourage them envision a future where they have achieved their goals and can celebrate their success and enjoy a new place and status.  Perhaps put an image of that future / goal on the refrigerator or a place where he or she will see it every day. 

2. Remind Them One Exam isn’t Everything:  Doing well on final exams certainly makes the path easier, but all they can do is their best. If they stay calm, prepare well, and still do not get the desired score, remind them that exams are just one part of the picture.  If anxiety is the issue causing them to perform poorly, this is an especially important message. 

3. Provide a Healthy Diet & Healthy Snacks:  In the next few weeks, make sure they have plenty of fresh fruit handy for quick and refreshing snacks, bottled water to grab on the run and stay hydrated, green, leafy vegetables, eggs, salmon and tuna, and protein to keep them going and full without feeling the urge to carbo-load (eat too many carbohydrates for energy, only to feel more tired and sluggish a few hours later).  Read more for good for your brain foods to eat to help with studying.

4. Push Them to Exercise:  Remind them to go for short walks, runs, or swim – giving the focused brain a break reduces stress, increases oxygen to the brain, and actually boosts memory and retention and helps us focus better.  Read what the University of Edinburgh has to say about Exercising during Exams.

5. Reduce Anxiety & Insomnia:  If your child is having trouble sleeping or concentrating due to anxiety, teach him or her controlled breathing exercises – long, deep breaths, counting the breaths, closing one’s eyes. For the same reason, avoid caffeine and sugar in the evening. Green tea gives a little kick but not so much to keep you awake all night.

6. Plan and Organize Time:   Help your teen stay on task and not feel overwhelmed by breaking big projects into smaller segments and scheduling these, with little breaks between.  Make and stick to a study plan that allows for a full night of sleep, or at least allows for a nap the next day after a late night.   

7. Plan a Reward:  Last but not least, it is important to plan a reward for meeting those goals.  How about concert tickets?  Be sure to schedule at least a week of down-time for rest:  sleeping late with no place to go and time to hang out with friends and/or family.