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How Can Families Support Each Other During Exams

How Can Families Support Each Other During Exams

We read "How To Assist Your Teen Through Exams" - By Sonya and Sacha.  Now we are lucky to have an article written by Angelica, who has just completed her Law Degree.  Angelica has given us an insight on how families can assist each other during the stressful exam period.

Written By Angelica Pupillo

Exams are a stressful time for all people involved. The common misconception is that it is just the student that is freaked out, but the stress extends much further than that. 

I have been a student for my whole life, and it wasn’t until the last couple of years of my law degree and experience my sister's stress for year 12 that I saw how much my anxiety impacts others. 

During this time, I wanted to find a balance between being there for my sister and taking care of myself. 

It is essential to take care of your child or sibling, but it is more important to take care of you.  

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Here are five ways to help yourself when someone you know is stressing for exams that worked for me: 


1.    It’s All About The Little Things 

There is nothing worse when you’re studying than pity. The reality is that you have to do the work and there is nothing that you or anyone else could say to the student you take away that fact. I discovered the value of doing little things for my sister. Every morning I would make her breakfast and bring it to her in bed with coffee. Some afternoons if I went and got myself a coffee I would get her one too. Other days I would just send her a text mid-afternoon to let her know I loved her. She would always be so thankful that someone thought of her. The key is not to make a big deal of the things you are doing for them; it just needs to be subtle acts of kindness.  

2.    Give Your Child Some Space

I don’t know about you, but if I have someone peering over my shoulder when I am trying to get some work done, I become all tense and nervous. Now I’m not suggesting leaving the student alone cramped up in a room all day, but what I am indicating is to let them have their space. 
While they are in the zone of study, often they don't want this interrupted.  Try to respect your child's space and maybe only speak during study breaks. 
Analyse the situation.  Understand that sometimes when a student is studying, and walk away from the desk, they are allowing the information to process, and people are throwing questions takes away from that consolidation time. 

3.    Keep Your Childs Favourite Food On Hand 

There is something about studying that makes me incredibly hungry. Your brain needs fuel to think, so it is essential that the food that you want is on hand to meet that craving. That said, nourishing the student’s body with the right food is imperative. Sugar used to be my right-hand man when I was studying, but since turning to healthy fats, I have found that I can concentrate for more extended periods and I don’t crash. 


4.    Encourage Quality Family Time

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Independent study is isolating so having contact with other people is a fantastic and healthy mental distraction. Studying in a group never worked for me, I am far too chatty for that. So instead I would spend a certain amount of time studying alone, and my reward would be spending time with friends and family. To apply this tip, you can say to the student “tonight I am making chicken for dinner, and it would be lovely if we could all eat together as a family at 6 pm.” The critical parts of this statement is the emphasis on ‘as a family’ and the time. If the student knows what time they are going to stop working, they will likely make it a goal for them to accomplish the work they want to do before that time. 

5.    Yoga And Exercise 

Seeing someone you love incredibly stressed is emotionally draining so you need to take care of yourself. If you feel a bit defeated, I suggest going for a walk. Going once around the block can be all you need, or the student needs to shake off some of the negativity. I found that taking some deep breaths or a five-minute yoga session helped reinstate my mental state. It is important to remember that if the student does overreact about something or snaps that it is not a direct dig at you. Try not to take it personally. 

Parents, siblings, friends, and partners all feel the stress of exams, so it is crucial that they are also taken care of during exam period. It can be so exhausting trying your best to help the student.  At times, it just seems like your best efforts just aren’t enough to tame them. Remember that the stress is temporary and to take care of YOURSELF! 

Caz said to me last week that “Parenting can often be a thankless career.  Your supportive role is VALUABLE.  Even though they might not tell you, they do love your help.” Try and keep this in mind, you are doing your best! 

Thank you for this fantastic article Angelica.  Follow Angelica on Instagram here.

Please share with families who are going through exams.

Do you have any helpful tips to add to this?  Please leave in the comments section.

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