How to help your teen through the stresses and anxieties of exam season

It’s almost summertime, and if you’re a graduating school student, that can only mean one thing - the dreaded Leaving Cert/A Levels exam season is here.

Although every school exam can feel quite daunting, your final few tests before you leave forever can be incredibly overwhelming. Everyone has their different coping techniques, and while some students might excel at written exams, others can find them extremely difficult.

If you’re worried about your teen as they head into their last school exams, then we’ve got some top tips for you on how you can reassure them as much as possible. Whether they show it or not, they need your support during this stressful time, and so here are a few things that you can do to help:

Talk to you

Firstly, go back to basics and make sure they know that you are willing to listen to their worries. Many teenagers feel as though they have to bottle up their stresses and keep them to themselves, which can lead them feeling overwhelmed, particularly during exam season. So, let your teen know that they can talk to you at any time and relay their concerns to you. A problem shared is a problem halved!

Calming techniques

If your teen is experiencing frequent moments of panic and anxiety, then you might want to teach them some helpful breathing techniques that they can practice before every exam. Many brilliant ones can be found online, but the most effective and common one is to inhale slowly and deeply for 5 seconds, holding for a second or two, and then exhaling slowly for another 5 seconds. You can also purchase some relaxing products to help them feel at ease, such as camomile tea, lavender-scented candles or a calming spray.

Take study breaks

If your child is studying for long periods of time, then their worries surrounding their exams are only going to get worse. We can only give our entire focus to something for a certain length of time before we begin to lose our concentration. So, although it might not feel like it to your stressed-out teen, study breaks are genuinely helpful and necessary. Even if it’s just for 15 minutes at a time, taking a break to grab a cup of tea or watch a bit of their favourite TV show will help them to regain their focus later.

Life after exams

When you’re in the thick of exam season, it can be near-impossible to picture your life beyond those stressful few days. However, it’s crucial that your teen does so! When they haven’t got their nose in the books, get them to plan out a few things that they are excited for, once they have completed their tests. Whether it be their upcoming prom, a holiday abroad or simply going to the cinema, making a list of upcoming plans will allow them to remember that this stressful time won’t last forever.

Proud, no matter what

Last but not least, teenagers at this stage of life often put a lot of pressure on themselves to achieve the best marks and to not let anyone down with their results. So, as their anxiety builds during exam season, be sure to remind your teen often that you will be proud of them, no matter what grades they receive when their results are released. At the end of the day, as long as they have tried their absolute best and have made it through exam season, then that’s all that matters.