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Helping your child cope with exam stress

Students are under a lot of pressure to succeed in exams and sometimes this can feel a little overwhelming thus resulting in exam stress. Many students thrive under pressure. It can motivate them and help them to perform at their best. Others may feel the opposite and struggle with pressure, feeling as though they are unable to manage. Pressure becomes stress when students feel as though they are unable to cope. Here are some tips to help you support your child through the pressure of exams.

Your child could be showing signs of stress if they’re:

  • Feeling more tired than usual
  • Struggling to focus
  • Feeling anxious and panicky
  • Struggling to sleep at night
  • Waking up exhausted
  • Suffering from regular stomach upsets
  • Experiencing a loss of appetite
  • Feeling run down

Here are some ways to support your child:


Keeping hydrated is important for brain function, distributing nutrients around the body and removing toxins. Bring your child drinks as they are revising and remind them to take regular sips.


If your child does not feel fulfilled, then regular tummy rumbles will make it incredibly hard for them to concentrate. Help them to nourish their bodies and minds with healthy food; greens, fruit, nuts and seeds for healthy energy boosting snacks and aim to provide a balanced diet of three meals a day. Try to eat as naturally as possible and help them to minimise refined sugars found in sweets and fizzy drinks.


Sleep is very important. It’s the body’s healing time when cells repair and the brain archives the learning made during the day.
Help your child to keep to a similar sleep pattern that they had prior to exams.
To help your child get ready for sleep, promote a half hour wind down with no electronic devices. Reading for a short period may help to calm and relax your child before sleep.

Taking breaks

Remind your child to take regular breaks whilst revising to refresh both mind and body. Encourage them to take a walk or other exercise. If your child is the creative sort and enjoys playing an instrument or drawing, then encourage this too. These kinds of activities will help them to relax and unwind, giving the body and mind a much needed rest.


Talk to your child after each exam. Let them verbalise their thoughts and concerns. Then encourage them to put it out of their mind and focus on the next one. Remind them of how proud you are and how you love them however well they do in their exams.

Written by Sander de Groot

For further advice, check out the links below:

Childline : exam-stress

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