Exam season may only just have arrived but it has already been riddled with controversy about the pressure being put on children with changes to testing. Some have dismissed the impact of testing but a new study commissioned by the BBC has found that nearly 90% of 10-11 year olds feel the pressure of exams. Almost 30% of them say they feel stressed out. If children as young as 10 are feeling this level of pressure and stress, you can only imagine how older children feel about the tests they are subjected to. There are several ways to limit the way your child feels pressure and stress.
There are real stress relief benefits to pressure free play. Younger children will naturally do this but you may need to encourage it in slightly older children. Take them out on bike rides, play catch or encourage them to play pressure free video games that they enjoy. These will give them downtime where they can escape and alleviate feelings of anxiety.
Bedtimes can be a nightmare but ensuring your child is well rested will make them more relaxed and less prone to agitation. Keeping electronics out of their room will ensure they actually go to sleep when in bed. You could also use rewards to encourage an early bedtime.
Manage Your Stress
Stress is contagious – when you are stressed out your child will feel stressed too. It is important that you care for yourself and learn to reduce your own stress in whatever way you can.
Encouraging your child to talk about their feelings is vital, and will give them the chance to express any stress or pressure. You may need to guide them to the right words to describe this but do not put words in their mouth. Listening to them and hearing their problems will ensure that they vent any problems to you on a regular basis and this can help you reduce stress in other ways. For instance, if they told you they felt stressed about being new at school you could easily ask their teacher to support them.
Pressure and stress are often formed by the fear of making mistakes or not living up to expectations. Explain that everyone makes mistakes and that they are useful as a learning experience. Using examples makes it easier to understand. Talking about yourself will also make you relatable and they will understand if you can make mistakes and be ok, so can they.
Are there any other ways you’ve helped your child with pressure and stress? Share your experiences on our social media pages.
For additional guides to supporting your child and information about wellbeing click here.