Exam time for schools in Thailand
The four-letter word is getting close now. EXAM! Yes, it is exam time at many schools in Thailand soon.
Many parents are not sure how to help their children manage stress and do their best in exams. It can seem an overwhelming and daunting time for everyone involved. Here are some ideas that will help you through the next couple of weeks.
- Remain Calm – Remember it’s not you, it’s them!! It’s perfectly normal for parents to become anxious and worry for your kids in the lead up to exams – especially if it’s the first time a major exam, such as the Leaving or Junior Cert is ‘in the household’. The best way you can help your child is to remain calm yourself! It’s very important not to transfer any additional anxiety onto your kids. This can happen unintentionally, especially if you’ve had mixed experience of exams yourself. Don’t let your experience colour your expectations for your child. Many parents can feel like they are the ones doing the exams! Be calm and supportive.
- Get out yourself & relax. Whilst it is important to be supportive and present for your child during this time, experience suggests that some ‘time out’ for parents is as important as it is for students.
- Try to keep a normal household. Exams can bring stress that can have a ripple effect on everyone in the house. Being practical – keeping noise and distractions to a minimum during study time is very useful. Keeping regular sleep patterns is essential during this period. If your child is having difficulty getting sleep, try some exercise, it helps students release physical tension and builds positive self-belief and exam strategy.
- Feed the Mind – Have plenty of healthy snacks in the fridge – fruit! Make sure everyone in the house starts the day on a good breakfast! Ideally a slow releasing energy cereal e.g. brown bread with an egg or porridge / muesli. Minimize high sugar snacks (chocolate, fizzy drinks) – have plenty of healthy alternatives. Provide alternatives to caffeine drinks, avoid energy drinks like red bull. Also, if you don’t have them already, get a fish oil supplement to help your child’s concentration.
- Be Supportive & offer unconditional love. Let your child know you are there for them unconditionally.
- Look & Listen. Observe how your child is coping and managing their stress. If you notice they are behaving ‘out of character’ or seem to be finding the whole process difficult, ask how you can help them or suggest taking a walk, or have a bath to relax. Sometimes it is just enough for your child to talk things through with you, they may not be asking for directive actions. By listening and supporting your child you are helping them.
- Keep a steady pace. If your child is burning the midnight oil, there is a good chance they will run out of steam, become over tired or peak too soon. Encourage healthy sleeping patterns! We all perform better on a good night’s sleep. We retain more information and can recall 50% better if we have slept well. Your child is less likely to go blank or make comprehension mistakes too.
Look out for the following
- Be vigilant for signs that your child is suffering from stress. Make sure they take plenty of breaks and provide distractions if necessary.
- Try to encourage them to work while still keeping the whole process in perspective. Your child should know exams are important but not believe the world will end if they don’t get the right results.
- Be aware of your child’s study timetable and help them create a personal study plan if need be and offer to test them if it will help.
Don’t make comparisons between your child’s results and that of his friends or siblings, or even yourself.
Good luck with the finals!!