It’s time to close the books, turn off the computer and stop the cramming. Those months of studying are about to be put to the test for Year 12 students.
While it’s a particularly stressful time for these students, parents can also feel anxious as they try to support their young people through their examinations.
If you’re wondering how to best help your stressed-out student, ‘headspace’—the national youth mental health foundation—provides some practical strategies on its website. Here are some tips:
Help your student create a comfortable study space that is quiet, well-lit and has no distractions, such as television, nearby.
Kids need to eat while they work, but fast food and caffeine can interfere with their ability to concentrate and sleep. Help them out with healthy meals and a range of nutritional snacks such as nuts, fruit and yoghurt. Drinking water helps, too.
Make sure your student takes regular breaks. Physical exercise is vital for mental health, with studies suggesting that any activity can help improve symptoms of anxiety and increase energy levels. Cycling, a gym class, shooting a few hoops, even taking the dog for a walk around the block can lift spirits.
A good night’s sleep is essential for wellbeing. Encourage your young person to maintain a regular sleep-and-wake schedule. Relaxation is important to slow brain activity down, so if he or she is keyed-up before bedtime, suggest a bath or shower, herbal tea or some relaxation exercises. It’s also helpful to turn off electronic devices.
It’s okay to take time off studying and have some fun. Your student needs to keep a healthy work/social life balance, and staying connected with friends and family is important for support.
Finally, remember there is life after exams and remind your student that his or her future does not depend on their results. If you think additional support is needed, encourage a visit to your family doctor, school wellbeing coordinator or
For details, go to headspace.org.au; reachout.com; youthbeyondblue.com