Dhanvin Sriram

What Causes Exam Anxiety in Children?

When a teacher announces that everyone needs to put their pencils down because an exam is over, anyone can have an elevated heart rate. But exam anxiety is more than just regular jitters before a test. What can cause an elevated response to exams in children? What can parents do to help reduce it? Some kid-caring individuals shared their tips to reduce exam anxiety. Keep reading to find out what those tips are.

Dhanvin Sriram

Dhanvin Sriram

From .

Fear of Not Meeting Expectations

Exam anxiety in children often arises from multiple sources, including the fear of not meeting expectations, peer pressure, and concerns about the future. It’s crucial for parents to identify these stressors and create a supportive atmosphere where children feel comfortable discussing their concerns. By maintaining an open line of communication, parents can help children express their anxieties and work together to find solutions.

To reduce exam anxiety, parents can introduce relaxation techniques like deep breathing and mindfulness to help children manage stress during exams. Establishing a balanced daily routine that includes breaks, physical activity, and nutritious meals contributes to overall well-being, enhancing children’s capacity to handle stress.

Additionally, parents can guide their children in developing effective study habits, time management skills, and goal-setting techniques. By providing the right tools and emotional support, parents play a crucial role in boosting their children’s confidence and resilience, ultimately reducing exam anxiety and improving academic performance.

Jamal Farah

Jamal Farah

Senior Manager at .

Pressure To Perform Well

Exam anxiety in children can be caused by a number of factors. In my view, one of the main causes is the pressure to perform well, which can stem from parents, teachers, or the kids themselves. Children might also fear the consequences of not doing well, like disappointing their parents or falling behind their peers. So, how can parents help?

Firstly, I believe creating a supportive and stress-free environment can work wonders. Let your child know that an exam isn’t the end-all and be-all, and their worth isn’t defined by their grades. Encourage them to study, but also ensure they take breaks and have time for fun activities.

Additionally, teaching kids time management skills can help reduce last-minute cramming, which often leads to anxiety. Help them create a study schedule and stick to it.

Lastly, in my opinion, teaching kids relaxation techniques, like deep breathing or meditation, can be really beneficial. These can help them calm their nerves before and during the exam. And remember, a bit of humor can help lighten the mood. Maybe tell them about the time you completely blanked during an exam but still turned out okay!

Caroline Bogart

Caroline Bogart

Founder of .

Lack of Preparation

Exam anxiety in children often stems from fear of failure, lack of preparation, and high expectations, either self-imposed or from parents. To help mitigate this, parents can play a pivotal role. Encourage a healthy study routine rather than last-minute cramming, which often leads to stress. Open communication about their fears and concerns is also crucial, helping to dispel any misconceived expectations or fears. Remember to emphasize effort and understanding over grades, nurturing a growth mindset. Also ensure they are getting proper rest and nutrition.

Jed Macosko, Ph.D.

Jed Macosko, Ph.D.

President and Research Director of .

Unachievable Expectations

The biggest cause of exam anxiety is the feeling of unachievable, big expectations. Parents can reduce this cause by searching for where children perceive that the expectations are coming from and then addressing those sources. The number one perceived source of expectations is from the parents themselves, so parents need to be ready to find that X marks the spot on their own foreheads.

The way to address the perception of these unachievable, big expectations is not to tell a child that she or he is silly to perceive the situation in that manner. Instead, validate the child’s perception. This will be hard when the child perceives the expectations as coming from the parents since the parents’ first reaction will be to tell their child how they in no way have those kinds of expectations.

A better approach would be to say, “Yes, we have had an expectation that you will achieve (fill in the blank) on your next exam, but we realize that this was wrong of us and we are sorry. We realize now that the only thing we should expect and now expect is that you do your best to prepare for the exam.”

If the expectations turn out to be coming from peers or teachers or some other non-parental source, then the goal will be to show how the child doesn’t need the approval of these people and that the approval of the parents, God, and the child’s own internal spirit is sufficient. Parents can’t control whether one of these sources apologizes and changes their expectations, and they should demonstrate to their child that they would never break another person’s legitimate boundary by trying to force or manipulate someone else into apologizing and changing expectations. That said, parents can help children create their own healthy boundaries that keep unreasonable expectations from crowding into their hearts and increasing their anxiety.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors’ statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.