Anxiety and Finals: 5 Ways Parents Can Reduce Their Student’s Test Stress, part 2 of 2

mom helping their child to reduce their test stressAs the school year winds down, anxiety symptoms and testing stressors intensify. Part 1 of this two-part guide dissected how parents might add to their child’s test stress, especially as finals are around the corner. Now, let’s explore practical strategies for creating a positive study environment and helping your student(s) feel prepared.

1. Create a Calm Environment

Home should be a sanctuary where your child can recharge and focus on their studies. Having a peaceful place to study during a stressful time in school is extremely beneficial for mental health. To create a calming atmosphere:

Minimize distractions: Turn off the TV, limit social media use, and establish quiet zones in the home where your child can study without interruption. Make a study plan that blocks out windows of time with frequent (and much-needed) breaks for social interaction, stretching, physical exercise, or a quick snack. Mental health professionals advise limiting phone use on breaks because it mimics task switching, which can harm focus.

Provide a comfortable study space: A well-lit, organized desk with necessary supplies encourages focus. The less clutter, the clearer the mind. Oh, and don’t forget to stay hydrated with plenty of water.

Be mindful of noise levels: Encourage quiet activities during study time if other family members are around. Cultivate a place where you’d be able to learn without noise or distraction, and your child will feel supported.

2. Encourage Your Child to Self-Advocate

Finals week can be overwhelming, even for the most prepared student. There’s a lot of pressure to succeed for themselves and to make you proud. Encourage your child how to advocate for their needs by:

Communicating with their teachers: If your child feels overwhelmed or needs clarification on a topic, encourage them to ask their teachers for help. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Be sure to follow suit if they also come to you with questions. Remember- there’s no such thing as a stupid question!

Reaching out for support: Remind your child that school counselors and tutors are available to provide additional guidance and support. If they’re not receptive to reaching out to extra educational professionals, suggest the idea of forming a study group amongst friends.

Sometimes, all it takes for something to click is to have it explained in a way they understand, which happens frequently among their peers.

Learn to say no: Encourage your child to prioritize their studies and politely decline social invitations if they need more time to prepare. Academic success comes first; they can always make up social time with events after finals!

3. Focus on the Journey, Not Just the Destination

Positive encouragement through little reminders goes a long way!
While good grades are important, it’s equally important to celebrate your child’s effort and progress:

Acknowledge hard work: Instead of focusing solely on the final grade, praise your child for their dedication, study habits, and perseverance. Think about positive rewards to congratulate and motivate after finals. Is there a place they’ve always wanted to go? A food they love?

Set realistic goals: Help your child break down their study sessions into manageable chunks and celebrate small victories along the way. Take deep breaths, don’t panic when you don’t understand something, simply leave it for later and revisit it. We have loads of other suggestions to help set goals here!

Emphasize learning: Remind your child that endings are an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding, not just a means to an end. If your child is consistently expressing sadness or anger with their own study habits, consider a tutor to help. Building efficient study habits comes with experience, and we can help!

4. Do Not Engage in a Power Struggle

Finals week can be stressful for parents too, but avoid micromanaging your child’s study habits:

Trust their judgment: Allow your child some autonomy in deciding how and when they want to study. Offer guidance, not control. Instead of dictating their study schedule, help them create a study plan that aligns with their needs, goals, energy levels, etc.

Avoid constant reminders: Nagging can increase anxiety and resentment. Instead, offer gentle encouragement and check in on their progress periodically.

Be a sounding board: Listen to your child’s concerns and frustrations without offering unsolicited advice or criticism.

5. Preserve Your Relationship, Get Outside Help If Needed

Tutors can help your student’s academic success while maintaining your close bond with your child. If the stress of finals week is creating tension between you and your child, consider seeking outside help:

Executive Functioning Coaching: An executive functioning tutor can help your child develop essential study skills, such as time management, organization, and prioritization.

Study Skills Tutoring: A study skills tutor can provide personalized guidance and support in specific subjects, helping your child feel more confident and prepared.

Test Prep: If your child is particularly anxious about a specific test, consider enrolling them in a test prep course to review key concepts and practice test-taking strategies.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, by creating a calm environment, encouraging self-advocacy, focusing on the learning process, avoiding power struggles, and seeking outside help when necessary, you can support your child to navigate finals weeks with confidence and resilience.

Your unwavering support and understanding can make a significant difference in helping your students achieve their academic goals and maintain a healthy balance between school and life.

And our support through academic tutoring and study skill tutoring can be the deciding factor in drastic stress reduction pre-finals.


Want to set your child up for success?

Send us a message and we’ll get you and your child prepared and ready to confidently take on finals, for once and for all!

And, once your child finishes the year strong, let us know how you plan to celebrate good grades!

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5 Ways Parents Can Reduce Their Child’s Test Stress, Part 2 of 2