Stress and anxiety are sadly very common amongst children especially when facing a challenging exam.

Identifying anxiety

Physical Signs

Many children are able to articulate their fears and anxieties but in many cases, physical symptoms become the identifying factors. The following physical reactions can be as a result of stress:

  • Feeling Sick / dizzy / faint / shaky
  • Stomach ache
  • Heart beating quickly
  • Sweating
  • Having tense muscles
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headaches

(Always consult a Doctor if you are concerned about your child!)

Other Signs

  • Feeling scared or panicky
  • Having a persistently negative attitude about everything
  • Lacking confidence
  • Getting angry easily and sometimes for no obvious reason
  • Concentration problems
  • Insomnia

Stress Beating Tips!

Our best advice is to remain positive and prepare your child as much as possible, so that they are 100% confident about what they are facing.
It is also vital to remind your child that you are proud of all of their hard work and will remain proud whatever the outcome of the exam is.
Build their confidence through as much praise as possible during the preparation process but if you begin to see signs of growing anxiety in the days leading up to the exam, we have a few tips to help you de-stress your child.

  1. ExerciseWhether it is a 20 minute walk around the block, a trip to the swimming pool or a game of football, the combination of exercise and where possible fresh air / music, can do wonders for anxiety.
  2. MeditationMeditation can be hugely successful for anxious children and is very straight forward:
    • Ask your child to sit somewhere quiet and comfortable, put their hands on their lap and close their eyes.
    • Tell them to breathe in and out very slowly whilst they listen to their breathing.
    • Repeat 50 times and then ask them to slowly open their eyes
  3. MusicMusic is a relaxant. If you can persuade your child to listen to classical / chill out music, it should help calm them fairly quickly! If they play a musical instrument, encourage them to spend 15 minutes playing their favourite pieces.
  4. LaughterNever under estimate the power of laughter! Known to be a stress reliever, laughing helps to relax the muscles in your body and simply telling a few jokes, watching a funny TV show or even pulling silly faces can make a huge difference!
  5. A hug or a cuddle!Physical contact is known to reduce stress hormones and blood pressure. A simple hug with a parent or for that matter a pet can never be a bad idea!
  6. Progressive Muscle RelaxationProven to be a wonderful way of relieving stress, progressive muscle relaxation is achieved by tensing and relaxing various muscle groups in your body. Check out this NHS guide for a handy child focused relaxation guide.