A line style illustration of a mother wearing a hijab stands with her arm around her daughter's shoulder. The lines are in blue and black, set against an off white background.
Grades don’t define success and your children will be OK, no matter what happens during exam season. Illustrations by (c) Reset Fest Inc, Canada.

Mental Health

The Parents’ Guide on Staying Sane During Exam Chaos

Safeguarding your mental health can only make you a better parent.

For students prepping for their exams and standardized tests, it can feel incredibly challenging. If kids are stressed, parents will be equally if not more stressed! From organizing meticulous notes to revising chapters and staying ahead of the study schedule, there’s a lot to be done. While difficult, it is possible for parents to help their kids get through this period without experiencing burnout or frustration themselves. Here are simple ways for parents to Re:Set their own mental health and keep stress at bay during exam season.

All work and no play makes parent and child dull

This may seem obvious but it’s a crucial point. Tempers can flare during stressful moments so taking breaks to do activities together can really help you and your kid relax while preparing for exams. You could perhaps go out for a quick bite at your favourite restaurant, sing along to a karaoke session or watch your favourite funny movie together. Going for a walk in the local park, playing with your pet and discussing topics not related to exams are all good ideas and can help you de-stress. Take some time out to actively bond with your child and reassure them that it’s OK to unwind for a bit during exams.

An illustration of a father and son walking in front of some trees with the sun behind them. The drawing style is simple line drawing, and all the elements are either gold or blue made on an off white background

Even amidst the exam chaos, make sure you take some time off for relaxing activities you can do with your children.

It’s all about teamwork

Helping your child cram for a competitive standardized test doesn’t have to be a lonely endeavour. Divide topics and subjects with your partner based on your strengths and weaknesses. If you’re a single parent, get a friend involved and organize small study sessions that will allow your kids to practice tests together and brainstorm before the big day. Remember: there’s nothing wrong with asking for help and splitting tasks instead of trying to deal with the study load by yourself. Getting a new perspective from another parent can allow you to explore study hacks such as helping your child remember a complex formula through a catchy line.

A line drawing illustration of a man and a woman giving each other a high five. The lines are in blue and black colours set against and off white background

One of the most effective ways to avoid burnout is to split the study load with your partner so you can help your kid prepare as a team.

Get innovative and plan well

Whether you’re looking at smart techniques such as homemade flashcards or apps on your phone to help your child get ready for their test, remember it can pay to be quirky. Work as a team and discuss strategies together. You could draw sketches of important facts or figures and put them around the living room or you could play a game. Dribble a basketball while asking your kid rapid-fire questions to help them memorize complex details and boring sections from their study material. Have a well-prepared schedule in mind to ensure there’s enough room for revisions, solving queries and going through complex topics.

A line drawing to a notepad open to a page titled 'Schedule'. Next to it is a pen with its nib open. The lines are in blue and gold, set against an off white backdrop

Being well organized and finding creative ways to study will help you and your child stay ahead of the game.

Be mindful

Remember that while important, standardized tests aren’t everything. Not doing well in a test shouldn’t make a child feel like they’re mediocre. Be mindful around your child and remind them you’re proud of their accomplishments and who they are. Grades don’t define success and they’ll be OK, no matter what happens during exam season. Use positive reinforcement and motivational examples to keep your child’s spirits up. You could even share light-hearted exam anecdotes from your own childhood. While communicating, choose your words carefully and avoid putting unnecessary pressure on yourself or your child.

While exams may often feel like a daunting prospect for the entire family, they can be a wonderful opportunity that can help you bond with your kids, raise each other up, practice mindfulness techniques and get creative.

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The Parents’ Guide on Staying Sane During Exam Chaos