exam stressSmart Psychology founders Orla McLoughlin and Marianne Wall help people overcome difficulties in their lives through workshops, courses and one-to-one counselling, and this week – as the countdown to exams begins in earnest — some tips for parents on how to help their exam candidates handle the stress and strain!

Stress levels for students often rise at this time of year. Some stress is good (we call good stress ‘eustress’) as it aids performance. Excessive pressure leads to the development bad stress (distress).

You can support your child by giving them psychological vitamins:

Vitamin M – Mind yourself so that you are a calm presence for your child

Vitamin N – Nutrition: Ensure your child is fuelling his/her mind and body with healthy food

Vitamin T – Tools: Ensure your child has a quiet, well lit, comfortable place to study.

Vitamin R – Relaxation: Allow your child to meet friends. They relate to each other and form a very important support network.

Vitamin E – Encourage your child. Let them know that they have the skills to cope with the situation. Do not dwell on things that cannot be changed. Focus on what can be done.

Vitamin L – Listen! Do not lecture them. Talk with them as opposed to at them. Collaborate to solve problems. Ask how they plan on getting their work done, have they thought about breaking chunks down into small bits….

Vitamin S – Sleep : Try to keep regular routines and encourage them to stop studying at a certain time to wind down before going to bed.

Vitamin P – keep things in Perspective. Ensure they know that failing is not the end of the world and that you love him/her regardless of outcome.