How to support your child during the exam period

09 Oct 2017



Many students often dread this period when a year’s worth of curriculum has to be crammed into their brains. When preparing for the exams, your child may be under a lot of pressure to perform, and some may even be afraid of disappointing themselves or you – the parent. At their tender age, young children will find it difficult to handle emotional trauma from anxiety and stress. Adults, on the other hand, have naturally been through more in life and are better equipped to handle such pressure. To help you along the way, here are some tips on how you can support your child during the exam period.


1. Find a balance between relaxation and exam preparation


Besides having to remember formulas, exam paper structures, scientific terms, and etc, your child has to manage his or her time as well. This includes time spent on recreational activities like having meals, on gathering their thoughts on the topics that they have been revising, and generally just taking a well-earned break from intense studying.

When planning a timetable at the start, you can help by guiding them in the planning of their revision timetable. Avoid setting strict timetables that they have to follow by the letter as this can be counter-productive in the long run when they are older and have to depend on themselves to set goals and plans.


How to support your child during the exam period
Helicopter parent – a parent who pays extremely close attention to a child’s experiences and problems, particularly at school.


2. Avoid being a ‘helicopter parent’
(Read more about schools taking action against the growing trend of ‘helicopter parenting’ in a Straits Times article.)


In case you did not read the article linked above, here are a few notable highlights mentioned in the article about the effects on the child from ‘helicopter parenting’:

● Child will not have a sense of responsibility in the future
● Child may rely heavily on the parent
● Not helping your child in the long run
● Schools are preventing parents from delivering forgotten items such as homework or pocket money
● Students are encouraged to inform the teacher instead as schools believe this encourages integrity in the child


How to support your child during the exam period
Children watch and learn from parental figures.


3. Do not add to their stress


The exams can be incredibly stressful for a child. After all, the exam results determine if a child is selected for certain education programmes or whether he or she will be able to enter a preferred school. This stress to perform well is made worse with parents who constantly remind their children that their exam results will greatly affect their eventual outcome in their working life. However true this may be, children at this age are unable to cope with this much pressure and it is up to the parent to ensure the child should be concentrating on remembering and understanding their academic syllabus.


Young children are curious and are incredibly affected by their surroundings and environment. Children also respond to and notice non-verbal cues from their parents. Help your child cope with the stress of exams by providing a comfortable and suitable environment where he or she can focus on revising for the exams.


How to support your child during the exam period
Children are aware and react accordingly to your actions and emotions.


4. Avoid the “Exam Dissection”

In other words, don’t cry over spilt milk. Students can feel stressed even after the exam is over, especially when they discuss over the paper. Remind your child not to excessively mull over questions that they thought they had answered wrongly. Also, avoid scolding or chastising your child if they mention about a careless mistake they had made in the exam. Teach your child to not dwell over mistakes but to think forward instead and start preparing for their next exam paper. After all, a healthy and positive mindset is key to dealing with the crucial exam period.


How to support your child during the exam period
Your child appreciates that you are there for them.


5. Be their pillar of strength


As a concerned parent, you would already be deeply involved in the revision and exam preparation of your child. Without being overly assertive, the general advice to take from this is to be aware of your own emotions and the environment that your child is in. Every parent would know their child best, yet do remember that the exams are not only a test of academic ability but also of his or her mental fortitude as well.