As a parent, we understand it’s important to you to help your teenager stay motivated. We also know it also matters to you to support your child in their times of need.
One of the times when they need you the most is in their teenage years, especially when their schoolwork starts to become complex and higher stakes in the later years of high school.
MWNS has compiled some tips and things to remember so that you can support your teenager when they’re going through periods of exam stress.
Put yourself in their shoes
We were all young once and with our young years came the stress and anxiety about exams. Remember that your children don’t have the same perspective on life that you might have and could be putting undue weight on how they perform in their exams. It’s important in times like this to try and remember how it felt to be like this so you can better empathise with your child.
In times of stress, it can feel almost impossible to stay motivated and focused. As the tasks start to pile up and the deadlines get closer, it’s important to help your child keep a cool head. It is also important to try and take care of your child during these times, as mental and physical wellbeing are crucial for motivation and performance.
Let them know that you understand
A lot of children feel like they can’t speak to their parents about what’s happening in their lives. It’s crucial to your child’s mental health that they know a few things about the relationship they have with you. The first and foremost of these facts needs to be that you’re there for them if they need it and that they can rely on you when things get really tough. There’s no worse feeling than feeling alone in a struggle.
Once your child understands that they’re not facing their stress entirely alone, they’ll start to feel a lot better and they’ll respond better to the stress. There’s no need to be overbearing when offering your child support: let them come to you, just make sure they know that your door’s always open.
Spend time with them outside
Sunlight is absolutely crucial for our wellbeing. Vitamin D and exposure to daylight not only ensure that our bodies are healthy, but also assist in sleep schedules. Going outside helps regulate your circadian rhythm, keeping it healthy and in sync, in turn preventing things like depression and anxiety. Plus a host of other developmental benefits!
Simply sitting outside with your child will improve their mood immeasurably and it will be a great way for them to re-centre themselves emotionally. Plenty of kids who spend a lot of time on their screens forget the benefits of a nice walk in the park or the simple joys of being in nature.
Help your child get more exercise
While this tip might seem obvious and almost unnecessary to mention, exercise is great for your body as well as your mind. It’s best to encourage your child to exercise 3 or 4 times a week to keep themselves healthy and keep their stress from getting the better of them. Even just going for a brisk walk while listening to music can help with their energy levels and boost serotonin. This tip relates closely to the last point about being outside but it’s worth mentioning because exercise has its own unique benefits, too!
Make sure your child is eating healthily
There’s absolutely no need for crazy diets, but you should be ensuring that your child is getting adequate vegetables, protein, and carbohydrates so that their energy and mood doesn’t suffer.
The easiest way to do this is to home cook their meals instead of relying on restaurants or take out, but it can also take the form of including more veggies in their dinner or encouraging them to have healthier snacks.
It’s very tempting for a lot of young people to gorge themselves on junk food when they’re feeling down or under stress; make sure you do everything in your power to prevent this sort of behaviour, because it’s likely to cause a downward spiral of your child’s behaviour and an upward spiral of their stress.
If you can, also try to limit their intake of caffeine, which is not at all healthy for under 18s to be consuming.
Seek assistance from professionals
Parents are tasked with a lot when it comes to their children and some tasks may be beyond their experience or ability to assist. This is why parents send their kid’s to school with qualified teachers, training sessions with experienced coaches and music lessons with musicians.
When it comes to exam stress, professional Maths & English tutoring can often be the best solution to helping your child succeed. Whether it’s that they don’t listen when you try and explain concepts, or perhaps you simply can’t remember Pythagoras’ Theorem to save your life, MWNS Tutors have been helping students prepare for exams for over 20 years.
By helping your child understand their school work, discuss study plans or seek some motivation from an external source, MWNS may help reduce your child’s exam stress and improve their overall mental health, stress levels, attitude and behaviour.
Help them get out and see their friends
Your child might not feel like going out and interacting with people, but it can have a very strong impact on their mood. Even talking for ten minutes to a good friend on the phone can lower their levels of stress and help them to refocus their thoughts. One way of encouraging your kids to get out of the house is to give them a little bit of extra pocket money that week so that they feel empowered to go out and do something fun with their friends to decompress. Giving them extra pocket money will also make your child feel like you’re supporting them and paying attention to their needs, lifting their mood even further.
Help them get organised
Create a schedule and list of priorities for your child and have them try to stick to it! These don’t have to be big things, you can start with the small day-to-day tasks and build them back up to larger concerns. By planning their days in collaboration with them, they will gain a level of perspective over the tasks they have to deal with, helping give them a little motivation when they need it most.
Fun ideas for this sort of organisation involve using a pinboard or maybe a whiteboard placed centrally in the house. Your child might be a little resistant to this idea at first, but once they start to see how much it improves their stress, they’ll be right on board with it.
Help your child seek help if they need it
If all these tips aren’t helping and you’re finding yourself at your wits’ end with your teenager, it might be time to seek some professional help. Before that stage, start by having a very frank conversation with your child on how their mental health is going and attempt to implement some small solutions to improve their happiness. If this isn’t working, it’s time to schedule an appointment with a GP or counsellor so that your teenager can get the professional help that they need. It’s important to remember that life is too short to have a really miserable time at school and the earlier your teenager gets the help they need, the better.
More about Maths Words not Squiggles:
At MWNS, we offer primary school tutoring and high school tutoring in Maths and English to ensure students understand their schoolwork, meeting the requirements set out by NESA and achieving grades they are proud of. All our Maths and English tutors tailor their lessons to the individual needs of our students. By working at a pace that suits and benefits each child, we are able to maximise their learning in an enjoyable environment.
Our Maths and English tutoring is available in centre (Central Coast Tutoring, Eastern Suburbs Tutoring, Inner West Tutoring, Northern Beaches Tutoring, South Sydney Tutoring, Sutherland Shire Tutoring) and online. Whether you are looking for a Maths tutor or an English tutor, MWNS is able to help build your child’s confidence.