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5 tips for parents on coping through exam stress

If your teens are heading into exams, the tension temperature in your household can go through the roof.

It starts with sleep deprivation - theirs and yours. Our study of over 1,000 parents and students has shown that 80% of teens lose between 2-4 hours of sleep each night, it’s no wonder parents may struggle to manage the stress fall-out.

Exam time can put the whole household on edge. Parents worry about about how well their kids will do, how much or little they’re studying and the impacts their performance may have on their future.

Thankfully, there are strategies that can help the entire household through this challenging time. We asked psychologist and cyber expert Jordan Foster from ySafe for her top tips for helping teens (and parents) turn exam stress into exam success.

1. Help them avoid study distractions

Our research shows that during exam periods 3 out of 5 students increase their screen time with up to 30% of their extra time spent on social media. ‘Call it self-medicating with screens. Social media is a constant distraction to student’s learning time, and this is particularly problematic during study periods. I recommend setting boundaries around screen time to help eliminate added distractions’ says Jordan.

2. Ensure they’re getting enough sleep

‘Getting enough sleep is fundamental to performing well at school and especially during exams’, notes Jordan. Our research shows that 9 out of 10 kids take their devices to bed with them during exam times. ‘When teens spend most of their evening studying, they’ll usually want to catch up on social media before bed and this can cut hours from their sleep time - resulting in them being excessively tired right before their exams. I recommend either banning devices in bedrooms during exam times or even cutting off the internet at bedtime’.

3. Know their exam timetable

‘This is something easy parents can do to help relieve their child’s stress’, says Jordan.  ‘Knowing what exam they’ve got next so you can help make sure they get there on time and also offer to help them revise. It’s an extra element of support. Parents can even add the exam timetable to their calendar’.

4. Install parental controls on their devices

Our research shows that 42% of teens report that their digital devices are a distraction during exam time. ‘If ever there was a perfect time to install parental controls without argument, it’s right now when they’re studying for exams’ says Jordan. ‘Parental controls, such as Family Zone, enable parents to block apps and websites that serve as a distraction for students, so they can use their devices as intended - to study’.

5. Remain calm

‘Or if you can’t be calm, learn to fake it til you make it. If you stress out, they’ll stress out even more - it really is that simple’ says Jordan. ‘So, it is very important to try your best to hold your stress inside and discuss with your partner or a fellow parent going through the same thing, if need be. It’s also helpful to remind your Year 12s  that even if they don’t go as well as they hope there are still other pathways into their chosen course and that it doesn’t matter if further studies are delayed a year or two’.

Exam time can be stressful for the entire family - parents very much included. Thankfully Family Zone and our team of Cyber Experts are here to help. Family Zone enables parents to set screen time routines to maximise sleep and remove distractions during study time. Now everybody can breathe a little easier, even during exams.

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Topics: Parental Controls, Mobile Apps, Cybersafety, parenting, exams

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