Got a teen doing big exams this year? Here’s how you can help them through it

Exam season is almost upon us once again, and we have no doubt that every teen across the country is bracing themselves for it. 

The Junior Cert and Leaving Cert cycles are an incredibly stressful time in every young person’s life. Regular exams are daunting enough on their own, never mind exams that could decide the fate of your future!

It’s completely understandable if you’re feeling anxious about your teen’s coping strategies ahead of a busy few weeks. Signs in your teen such as headaches, a lack of sleep and irritability can be worrying for you to notice.

However, even though you can’t take the exams in their place, this doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything to help them!

Below, we have set out a few tips and tricks that you can use to help your child feel as relaxed and prepared as possible going into exam season. You’ve got this:

Allow them to open up

Firstly, we would suggest giving your teen an open space for them to open up about how they’re feeling ahead of their exams. Of course, they might not want to talk to you and could prefer speaking with their peers or teachers instead. However, you should still let them know that you’re still here for them, and you’re willing to offer them a few words of encouragement, sympathy, or whatever else they may need. Exam season is an intense period, and they will need someone to release their emotions to. 

Give them the supplies they need

There are a few key things that teens need to study successfully, and one of them is a good diet! Make sure that they’re eating full and nutritious foods that will help them to sustain their focus for longer periods of time. For sweeter snacks, we would recommend delicious power bars and portions of dark chocolate, to give them a sugary hit. Plenty of water is also essential, and try to make sure that they are not overloading themselves with too much caffeine. 

A quiet space

Not every family will be able to offer this consistently, but where possible, we would recommend giving your teen the best (and quietest) space possible to study. A house that is filled with noise, interruptions and distractions will only hamper their ability to study. Of course, going to an alternative location (such as a relative’s house or a library) can occasionally help, but most times, it’s best to study in the environment that you are most comfortable in. If noise is a common occurrence in your household, then we would suggest getting a pair of good-quality headphones or earplugs for your teen, so that they can block out the chaos and focus on their education.

Switch off and sleep

Sleep does wonders for all of us, including your teen! It’s crucial that your teen gets at least 8 hours of sleep a day, but especially during exam season. They will not be able to focus during their study sessions, or perform at their best during their actual exam, if they are not getting enough sleep. Although it might not be a popular decision with them, a good tip is to limit your teen’s screen time before their bedtime, to ensure that the harsh, bright lights will not delay their ability to fall asleep. 

Avoid burnout

Lastly, although it is important for your teen to study as much as they are able to ahead of exam season, we also recognise that downtime is just as important. If the only thing that your teen does during their time away from school is eat, sleep and study, then they will burn themselves out too quickly. So, make sure to schedule in some free time for them during these next few weeks. Whether it be for something fun like a trip to the cinema or a few hours at the shopping centre, or for something simple like going for a walk or going to a café, the time away from the books will do wonders for your child. Plus, it will give the two of you the chance to catch up on some chit-chat!




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