Exam stress worries on rise

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Calls have risen by nearly a third to the YoungMinds parent’s helpline over concerns of exam stress in the last year.

1058 parents called the helpline over worries about exam pressures facing their children, compared with 693 in the previous year. Enquiries to the helpline have risen from 4827, 2008-2009, to 6002, 2009-2010.

To help young people cope during this exam period, parents should encourage them to talk about their worries. Simply talking can really help to reassure them that if they do not get their expected grades, there will be other opportunities ahead.

Claire Usiskin, YoungMinds Parents Helpline Policy Manager said: “This rise in calls is not surprising, with young people taking so many exams  throughout their time at school and college, and the added pressures of coursework. “

 “Parents should accept that this is going to be a stressful time for the whole family, where there may be outbursts. While they are revising, children are often stressed, anxious and irritable, and can have trouble with eating and sleeping. But a few simple things can really help:

  • Try and work with your child and support them rather than ‘policing’ them.
  • Encourage your child to have regular breaks, to do something they enjoy, even if it’s just half an hour off to listen to some music or to watch their favourite soap.
  • Make sure they eat healthy snacks regularly, and drink enough so they don’t get dehydrated
  • Exercise is also a good way to relax, even just a walk round the block.
  • Respect their body clocks - many teenagers are more alert during the night and this may be the best time for them to revise even though may make  parents anxious!”
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