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  • Writer's picturePaula Robertson

It's Exam Season!

Practical tips for helping young people thrive during exams

As exam season approaches, it's common for both parents and children to experience heightened levels of stress and anxiety. However, it's crucial to remember that stress doesn't have to be debilitating; in fact, it can serve as a catalyst for growth and learning if managed properly. As a parent, there are several strategies you can employ to help your child navigate exam stress healthily. Here are some practical tips and advice to support your child during this challenging time:

Encourage Balanced Study Habits: Help your child create a realistic study timetable that includes regular breaks and adequate rest. Encourage them to break down their study material into manageable chunks and prioritize areas where they need the most improvement.

Promote Healthy Lifestyle Choices: Ensure your child is getting enough sleep, eating nutritious meals, and staying hydrated. Physical activity can also help reduce stress, so encourage your child to engage in regular exercise, whether it's a quick walk, a bike ride, or a game of football.

Teach Relaxation Techniques: Introduce your child to relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, or progressive muscle relaxation. These practices can help calm the mind and alleviate feelings of anxiety during study breaks or before bedtime. If you'd like to find out more, check out some fun and practical techniques in My Mindful Workbook for kids 4 - 11 years: (I'm currently working on the teen version, so that should be available soon!)

Foster a Supportive Environment: Create a supportive home environment where your child feels comfortable expressing their feelings and concerns about exams. Offer words of encouragement and remind them that their worth is not solely determined by their academic performance.

Set Realistic Expectations: Help your child set realistic goals for themselves and emphasize the importance of effort and improvement rather than focusing solely on grades. Encourage them to do their best while understanding that perfection is not attainable.

Provide Practical Help: Offer to quiz your child on study material, provide resources such as textbooks or online tutorials, or connect them with a tutor if needed. Your support and involvement can make a significant difference in their confidence and preparedness.

Encourage Positive Self-Talk: Help your child challenge negative thoughts and self-doubt by encouraging positive self-talk. Remind them of past successes and reinforce their strengths and abilities.

Promote Time Management Skills: Teach your child effective time management skills, such as prioritizing tasks, setting deadlines, and avoiding procrastination. Learning to manage their time efficiently can help reduce last-minute cramming and associated stress.

Model Healthy Coping Strategies: As a parent, lead by example by demonstrating healthy coping strategies for managing stress. Show your child how you handle pressure and uncertainty in a constructive manner, whether it's through exercise, hobbies, or seeking support from loved ones.

Be Flexible and Understanding: Understand that exam stress is a natural part of the academic journey, and it's normal for your child to experience ups and downs. Be patient, empathetic, and flexible in your approach, and offer reassurance that you are there to support them every step of the way.

Exam season can be a challenging time for both parents and children, but with the right support and guidance, it can also be an opportunity for growth and development. By implementing these practical tips and advice, you can help your child handle exam stress healthily and build resilience for future challenges. Remember to prioritize your child's well-being above all else and celebrate their efforts and achievements along the way.

Be well,


Dr  Paula Robertson is a busy mom and a paediatrician with over twenty years' experience working with young people and their families. She is also a certified children's mindfulness teacher and Positive Discipline Parenting coach. You can find out more at

Our AI Assistant has contributed to the writing of this article.

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