We all know the pressures our children are faced with, particularly when it comes to examinations. It can be an extremely challenging and stressful time for children, and parents!
According to the Mental Health Foundation ‘at the most basic level, stress is our body’s response to pressures from a situation or life event. Whilst it’s normal for young people to experience worry and stress from time to time, too much for prolonged periods can have a negative impact on your child’s health, wellbeing and their ability to learn and achieve’.
A report by the Guardian newspaper in 2018 reported that ‘a children’s helpline says the number of counselling sessions it has delivered to youngsters with anxiety has almost doubled in two years’.
Anne Cartridge, therapist and mindfulness teacher/ practitioner, works with young children, and young people and staff in schools and in her practice, expresses her concern for the worrying growth. Anne states “The alarming rise in mental health figures for children, and young people, means that it is time to prevent mental health issues from developing and protect our children’s emotional wellbeing”. No matter how much we try to reassure our children, it’s important to understand and accept that stress, anxiety and worry can and does cause a whole host of emotional, psychological, physical and behavioural symptoms that if ignored and left unaddressed, can lead to physical and mental health issues later in life. Being stress and anxiety aware is the first step towards protecting our children and young people’s health and wellbeing, making sure they are equipped with positive stress reduction techniques, is a vital second.
Some of the symptoms to look out for include:
- Sleep disturbance
- Appetite change
- Complaining of tummy ache/ headache
- Nail biting
- Aches & pains
- Mood Swings
- Quietness/ Withdrawing
- Lack of concentration
- Excessive worrying
- Negative thinking
Advice From The Professionals
We approached a number of professionals in the field, all with a different skillset. They have offered some excellent advice, tips, downloadable information packs (including FREE packs) and workshops/ sessions that are available.
In Mind Therapies
Anne Cartridge, of In Mind Therapies, is an Integrative Therapist, Stress Management Trainer and Mindfulness Teacher/ Practitioner who supports the emotional wellbeing of adults, young people and children. Anne has seen a huge increase in the numbers of parents seeking support for anxiety and stress for their children and early intervention is definitely a key positive message.
Sessions at In Mind Therapies support children, and young people, experiencing stressful challenges and teaches them skills to help them overcome anxiety, worry and stress. They also boost confidence and increase their resilience.
- Calm & Confident Kids
- Positive Minds
- Mindfulness & Meditation Sessions
- Parent Programmes
- Positive Minds School Wellbeing Programme
What Can You Do To Help?
Maintain your own stress levels, keep calm and provide lots of love and reassurance. Children can feel the pressure to achieve from parents as well as school, so making sure we don’t transfer our own worries and fears about tests, exams and results, is essential.
Encourage your child to talk about their worries, fears and stress. Simply offering a hug, and allowing your child to let off some steam, is a simple and effective way of helping them to stay healthy in this stressful period.
Routine is vital and a calming influence for children during stressful times. Try to make sure they eat regularly, and healthily, and maintain a solid bedtime routine. Avoid screen time/ game time an hour before bed, so the mind and body can begin to relax. Reassure your child that SATs can’t measure all the many wonderful things about them.
Self regulation does not come naturally, it is a skill that needs to be learned and developed. Children are expected to sit still, focus and concentrate for long periods of time. Add extra curricular activities on top of a busy day, and the added pressure of tests on top, it’s no wonder our children sometimes find it all too much! Relaxation, unstructured play, and ‘down time’ is essential for supporting good health and happiness.
Find Out More
Find out further details about In Mind Therapies, and how the sessions can help you, and your child, here:
Contact: 07885 766268
Relax Kids & The Calm Within
Aislinn Marek runs Relax Kids Bury which provides fun activity classes for children, expanding their imagination and supporting self-esteem and development. In addition to this, Aislinn has her own company The Calm Within which is a counselling and emotional wellbeing service.
It’s approaching that time of year again when parents and teachers alike are trying to manage the feelings that surround exams. We want our children to do well, but don’t want them to be anxious or feel pressured. What can we do to help?
Lots of schools are really embracing the idea of making sure that their pupils know the SATs only assess certain aspects; they don’t assess their creativity, their kindness, musical ability, sporting talent. They are a mere snapshot, taken under pressure.
Lots of schools are providing additional support for Year 11 pupils, including additional intervention lessons. The most important things to remember are to remain calm, offer guidance and support. Help your teenager to get a balanced diet, and plenty of sleep in order to be able to achieve their full potential.
Exam Survival Guide
To help parents support children at home, Relax Kids have a great, FREE, ‘Exam Survival Guide’ (link below). It helps think about nutrition and hydration, how to get in the right state of mind for learning, as well as lots of ideas for supporting your child emotionally through each day.
Exam Survival Pack
Download your FREE Relax Kids Exams Survival Pack HERE.
The Calm Within offer a Study Guide, which has been created to offer an introduction to a variety of techniques and strategies which may be of benefit in managing emotional wellbeing in relation to studying.
Each section provides information designed to help you manage your approach to study; whether you are revising for an exam, writing an assignment, researching for a project or preparing for a presentation. The topics can be seen as “stand-alone” tips and advice, or taken together to establish a holistic approach to study. Each section has been carefully chosen to help bring about a sense of calm and wellbeing in body and mind, supporting you to perform your best, and to achieve your goals. Whilst these are just a “snapshot”, more information on each topic is available.
Purchase and download your copy of the Study Guide HERE.
There are many other useful items available on the website aimed at specific areas including happiness, confidence, relaxation, positive thinking, self esteem and anxiety. You can also access immediate downloads relating to specific age groups:
Kids: Believe in yourself and tell yourself you CAN do this! Repeat to yourself, whilst looking in the mirror: “I am ok. I can do this.” “I am calm, I am in control”. The more we say affirmations, the more we come to believe them, and so act in a more confident, calm way. Try sitting up a little straighter, lift your head and drop your shoulders down. This power pose will help you feel more open, straighter and stronger. Remember to breathe! Take in a deep breath through your nose and breathe out slowly and steadily through your mouth. Put your hands on your tummy and feel yourself grow as you breathe in. Breathe in confidence.
And a final word from Winnie the Pooh: “ You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
Read more about The Calm Within and take a look at the available resources HERE
Contact: 07970 856719
Emotional Freedom Therapy
If you are looking for a holistic approach to help relieve stress and anxiety, Emotional Freedom Therapy might be suited to you, and your family.
What are Emotional Freedom Techniques?
EFT is based on energy therapy and draws on various theories of alternative therapies such as acupuncture. By tapping on ‘meridian points’ on the body you are able to release energy blockages, which cause negative emotions. The process helps people to free themselves of past emotions, to feel focused, energised and to provide the ability to thrive on new challenges that life may bring our way.
How Can It Help?
Rachel, at Live4Energy, firmly believes that tapping is an unspoken communication that can aid bring families closer together.
Rachel teaches quick, relaxing techniques that can help the whole family. There are various different options available, to suit all needs and preferences, including:
- Live tapping sessions
- One to one work
- Family therapy
- Group sessions
Rachel can design bespoke therapies specifically tailored for you, and your family. Get in touch here for further information.
Take a look at the Facebook Group to learn more.
To find out more about EFT, and additional resources, including the free 5 star app ‘Tap Around The Clock’, pdf downloads and ‘The Spiral Of Life’ book (also available as an e-book) take a look at the full article HERE
Contact: 07495 020972
Tania Taylor Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapist
Tania Taylor is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and Psychotherapist in Solution Focused Therapy.
Tania’s life involves helping others and, in turn, Tania is rewarded with making a positive difference. Tania encourages and supports people to be where they want to be. Her work specialises in anxiety, depression, confidence and stress… amongst many other things.
Take a look at these wonderful exam stress tips from Tania. Covering all areas from alternating between topics, taking regular breaks, asking for help and getting good sleep.
Contact: 07442 169033
Mindset & Me
Heather Rose set up her business, Mindset & Me, after helping her own son overcome low self esteem and a lack of confidence.
Heather has worked hard to design and create products that will benefit others in the same way it has helped herself and Isaac. Mindset & Me now have a wide range of products available including daily affirmation cards to read with your child, worksheets and journalling to document progress and work through ongoing tasks.
Products available include:
Affirmation Cards – Affirmation cards can be purchased HERE
Worksheets – Take a look at the variety of worksheets available HERE
Journals – Child Journal Purchase your copy of the children’s journal from Amazon HERE
Adult Journal Purchase your copy of the adult’s journal from Amazon HERE
Read the full article HERE
Emma, owner of Empathy Holistics, is a fully qualified aromatherapist and trained adult tutor. As well as running sessions for babies, tots and adults specialising in massage, development and calm & create in, and around Bolton and Bury, Emma creates her own hand-blended aromatherapy products.
To aid exam stress, Emma has a Relaxation blend: a lovely blend of lavender, sandalwood and ylang ylang. The blend aids deep relaxation, lowers blood pressure. Apply to hands then take a few deep breaths when revising or about to sit an exam.
Emma has numerous items in her Folksy shop, however, if you have something specific in mind, Emma will bespokely blend an oil or cream just for you.
Folksy Shop: https://folksy.com/shops/empathyholisticshop
Contact: 07913 708419
With Thanks To:
Anne Cartridge – In Mind Therapies
Aislinn Marek – The Calm Within
Rachel Earing – Live4Energy
Tania Taylor – Tania Taylor Hypnotherapy & Psychotherapy
Heather Rose – Mindset & Me
Emma King – Empathy Holistics
Joanne Shea – Jo Shea VA