Exam season is here again, with GCSEs and A Levels taking place across the UK over the next few weeks. This can be a stressful time for children as they focus on revision and studying in order to achieve the best grades they possibly can, but there are several things that parents can do in order to ease anxiety and keep their children healthy and focused throughout their exams. Naturopathic nutritionist Amy Morris has shared her top tips to help ease exam stress.
1. Discuss effective revision techniques with your child
We are all unique, including the ways we learn information. So sit down with your child before they start studying and find out what you can do to help them to learn things more effectively, in a way that works for them. This simple step could involve helping them to make topic related and colourful notes, finding child safe mock exams online and even simply chatting about what the child has learnt and getting them to recall verbally. All of these ways and any others your child thinks works for them will help them feel more confident about themselves and their knowledge, and will help them to go on to feel better (and therefore perform better) on exam day itself.
2. Keep them hydrated
Evidence from Harvard Medical School shows that dehydration can actually shrink the brain, and this can cause poor moods and memory. To ensure your child is hydrated enough make sure they're drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
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3. Boost brain power with Omega 3
One of the symptoms of Omega 3 deficiency is a poor memory. This can occur in any age group, including young children. So, be sure to help your child's memory and give them a high quality, Omega 3 fish oil daily. I’d recommend Quattro 03 + PS from Water for Health (water-for-health.co.uk/quattro3-ps.html), it's been specifically formulated for youngsters and includes readily-absorbable omega-3, vitamin D3, evening primrose oil and phosphatidylserine (from sunflowers).
4. Try mindful meditation
Anxiety, frustration and even anger can sadly be a side-effect of exam generated stress. Introducing mindful meditation is one of the best, natural ways to help children to cope effectively. Encouraging children to practice this when they start feeling stressed can help lower cortisol levels immediately and encourage the whole brain to start functioning once again so that learning can continue.
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5. Encourage them to switch off
Once a week, let your child pick something that they wish to eat for dinner, or if funds allow, take them and the whole family out for a meal. Generating some fun around exam time, can go a long way, helping them to switch off and relax, taking their mind off exam stresses which is just as important as studying.
6. Reduce refined sugar intake
Keep refined sugar intake down to a minimum, ideally all year long, but especially around exam time. Refined sugar can cause energy highs and lows and this can have a knock on effect on the brain and mood. Your mood can affect your ability to learn and recall information, and undoubtedly, if your child is feeling down, or stressed, it will affect their motivation to study.