Here are six ideas for ways parents can look after themselves during their kids’ exams:
1. First, learn about the exams
Much of your worries about the kids’ exams likely stems from you not knowing so much about them. Take some time to read up on the exams your kids are taking, such as how many papers there are, the contents and demands of each, as well as time limits and other requirements. The more you know, the less you will have to leave to the imagination. Anxiety about anything can be alleviated with a bit of knowledge about that thing.
2. Pitch in and help where you can
In a previous article series, we talked about different ways parents could help their kids to succeed in their GCSEs and A-Levels. While that was focused on how to help your kids out, it can easily be flipped to reveal away to help parents feel better as well. By doing all you can to help your son or daughter succeed, you, in turn, feel useful and needed. That can go a long way to making you feel better. So much of our negative feeling during exam time as parents can emerge from our feeling utterly useless and helpless.
3. Ease up on alcohol and/or caffeine
Regular caffeine injections and a glass of wine or two in an evening may, in your mind, benefit you by helping you to relax or feel more aware. In truth, these stimulants won’t offer any positive benefit to your state of mind when you are worrying yourself sick over your kids’ GCSEs and A-Levels. Excessive alcohol will muddy your mind and stop you from thinking rationally, and excessive caffeine will keep you awake at all the wrong times, thus draining your precious energy and focus.
4. Get out of the house and into nature
Take time to get out of the house and enjoy the outdoors! If the kids can or want to come with you, don’t stop them. On the other hand, don’t force them out if they don’t want to. There’s nothing like some fresh air, a walk in the park or a longer hike in the country. Research has shown that exposure to greenery and nature has positive impacts on our physical and psychological health.
5. Go on a “digital detox.”
One of the things keeping us awake distracted, and ultimately stressed is our dependence on our smart gadgetry. Between the smartphone, tablet and even the watch you’re wearing, your day has become a litany of notification buzzes and beeps. Parents often find themselves scrolling endlessly through websites looking for news and information on their kids’ exams, or health topics, parenting issues --- the list goes on. You may be unaware of just how much stress these devices are causing you steadily over time.
Turn off your devices at night. Yes, all the way off. Keep track of your screen time --- Apple has a useful new feature that monitors and reports on your screen time each week, for example --- and aim to reduce it. Read books instead, or follow tip number 4 and go out for a walk. Communicate with your family face to face when you are feeling low, and you may find that just talking about things properly helps reveal solutions and ease the tension.
6. Eat right and sleep at sensible hours
Finally, eating right and sleeping well are two of nature’s finest cures for just about anything that stresses you or makes you anxious. It’s tempting during stressful times to cut corners on food and stay up later and later to get more things done. In your home, as parents, you should lead by example. If you are eating junk and staying up all hours, why should your kids feel any qualms about doing it?
Cook fresh food, get plenty of sleep at night and encourage your kids to do the same along with you. You’ll all feel better and more productive for it.
Your health matters not just to you but to your family. You do your son or daughter no favours by not taking proper care of yourselves as parents. Follow our tips and try to live as a healthy, positive example to whom your teenagers can look for support and even inspiration.