The end of the academic year approaches, and for many children, the stress of final examinations are looming large. Success in examinations can mean the difference between getting onto a coveted college course, or achieving a place in a certain school – so the stakes are naturally high. But putting pressure on children to do well can have an adverse effect. How can you support your children and ensure they have a positive examination season?

Be involved

Try to be as involved as possible in your child’s preparation for their exams – without appearing pushy. Help them to work out a revision timetable, and make sure they have all the essential materials they’ll need to study. If you want to make revision a little more interesting for them, buy them some new stationery or a fun new workbook.

Don’t resort to bribery

Telling your child that you’ll take them on holiday or give them a certain amount of money if they do well in their exams can add a lot of extra stress to a child. Not only are they concerned about their results, now they’re also worried about missing out on a holiday if they fail. Instead of bribing children, make sure they know you’ll be proud of them no matter how they fare in the exams. By all means, encourage your child with small treats, but don’t base the level of their treat on their success in their tests.

Encourage a healthy lifestyle

Stock up the fridge with healthy snacks and brain-boosting food to help enhance your child’s concentration. Encourage them to go for a walk, even if it’s just to the shops or to a friend’s house, rather than having their nose in a book all day. Regular exercise, a healthy diet and plenty of sleep will help to ensure your child is in prime shape to face whatever their exams throw at them.

Remember: a little stress is normal

If your child seems to be a little stressed or worried about the examinations, you can take it as a sign that they’re eager to achieve. It shows that they understand the importance of the exams with regard to their future prospects, which is a great sign. A little bit of stress is normal when it comes to examinations. But if your child is showing signs of extreme stress (weight loss, inability to sleep, trouble concentrating), you may need to step in and make some changes. Remind them that you’ll be proud of them, whatever their grade, and assert that they can only do their best – nothing more.