Updated 05 November 2015

Exam stress – a challenge for the whole family

Exam time is stressful for the whole family, especially when you're dealing with Matric finals.

Kids' exam time is an extremely stressful time for the whole family, especially when you’re dealing with Matric finals.

Normal interactions and activities tend to get put on hold for the entire period as everyone’s focus – whether they like it or not– is on the countdown to the last paper.

Because the pressure affects every single family member, it’s vital for parents to take control by being supportive and tolerant during emotional outbursts, and by putting the following stress-busting tips into practice.  

Put things into perspective. There’s a huge amount of pressure for your child to perform. It’s vital to explain that exams are not a matter of life and death, and that this too shall come to an end. Exams are an important stepping stone and things may get pretty intense, but there's a lot to look forward to once they're over.

Supply the right coping tools, from a quiet uncluttered study area, to gentle reminders to take regular breaks – outside if possible – to lending an ear, if needed.

Lead by example: Encourage healthy habits for better concentration and brain power by encouraging your child to make healthy choices. Keep your kitchen well-stocked with fresh fruit, vegetables, cereals, grains, nuts and lean proteins to support the brain and keep blood glucose levels at optimal levels. Limit junk food to the occasional treat – the high fat and sugar content dulls body and mind! Also be careful of the caffeine in coffee, colas and chocolate. Gently push for lots of water instead (flavour with fresh mint/lemon slices/strawberries and lots of ice).

Kick your child out of the house.  Ban the books for a while every day in favour of fresh air and exercise. Whether it’s a run around the block, a walk in the park, a game of soccer or a swim in the pool, exercise should form an essential part of every study plan. It’s a great stress-buster, the perfect way to re-energize, and will banish the cobwebs from tired minds.

Remember to relax- and breathe. Relaxing after a full-day of studying is essential in order to wind down. Relaxation techniques are very effective to counteract rising anxiety levels. For example, lying down and listening to gentle music with closed eyes while taking deep breaths is very calming. When you’re stressed, you tend to breathe quickly and shallowly, depriving your body of much-needed oxygen. Breathing slowly and deeply increases the supply of oxygen to the brain, enabling it to work more efficiently.

Get enough shuteye. A good night’s sleep improves concentration and thinking, and is more effective than pulling an all-nighter with last-minute cramming. Encourage – without nagging – a routine of going to bed at a reasonable hour, preceded by some quiet time. You should also chat to your pharmacist or healthcare practitioner about Sédatif PC® – a non-habit forming, non-sedating homeopathic medicine that can help relieve the symptoms of mild anxiety and sleeplessness caused by everyday stress, and can be safely used by the whole family to ease their journey through this very stressful time.

For more information, please visit LeBron.

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