Preparing for the future is considered one of the leading stressors for young people. Several studies find that anxiety and feelings of extreme sadness and hopelessness are prevalent among high school students.
About 80 percent of high school students admit to being depressed. When asked about the possible reasons why, a significant percentage automatically brought up the Statutory Assessment Tests or the SATs.
This is supported by the research of Dr. Sonia Lupien of the Fernand-Seguin Research Center in Quebec. She found that preparing for the SATs places great stress on the human nervous system. In fact, she said SATs drive students NUTS because of their:
- Threat to Self or Ego
- and lack of Sense of Control
Despite such findings, most young people will not miss out on taking their SATs. They understand how it is necessary to progress to the next steps in life.
If you are a parent, it can be heartbreaking to see your child having a difficult time with her studies, even with the knowledge that it will develop fortitude and strengthen her character. All you can do is to provide as much support as possible during this crucial time in her life.
One of the best ways for you to provide support is by making the SAT preparations less stressful. There are different ways to go about this, and here are seven tips that you can keep in mind.
1. Invest in topnotch SAT preparation classes.
It’s often better to place your child in a structured environment for preparing for her SATs. One thing you can do is to sign her up for SAT preparation classes that she can work into her schedule. By being in a class, she can get the guidance and instructions she needs and does not have to rely solely on her own efforts to study.
These classes are often designed to address individual students’ specific needs. They get instructors who can deal with them one on one to make sure that their problem areas are accurately covered. This is something that your child may struggle with if she is left to study by herself.
2. Work with your child in managing her time.
Sit down with your child and discuss her schedule. Find elements in her schedule that are taking up too much time and work to modify them. Doing this will allow her to prioritize her tasks better, not just for her studies, but also for maintaining school and life balance.
Stay on top of the new routine or schedule. This way, as a parent, you can ascertain that your child is not overworking herself or spending too much time on things that are not important during such a focused period in her life.
3. Find ways to make your child’s responsibilities much easier.
If your child is involved in a lot of extra-curricular activities and other programs, consider putting some of these on pause after adding SAT preparation classes to her schedule.
According to Dr. Susan Bartell, a New York-based psychologist specializing in children and teens, “…overscheduled kids become anxious, exhausted, and depressed.” As such, give your child some breathing room, especially when there are time- and energy-demanding SATs to prepare for.
4. Make sure that your child is properly nourished all the time.
A healthy diet is a must for well-being, but more so when a person is working toward an important goal. For your child, make sure that she’s eating right and on time. Provide her with nutritious food that can boost her brain performance, such as berries, almonds, and green leafy vegetables.
As much as possible, do not give her anything too sweet or caffeinated. Her energy needs to last and she cannot risk experiencing caffeine crashes that can make her feel lethargic and sleepy, especially when she’s studying.
5. Create breathers.
Add activities for fun and relaxation to your child’s schedule. This may seem counterproductive for some, but studies reveal that including a few breaks in the routine yields positive results for students who are preparing for exams.
Breathers can keep stress at bay. At the same time, these can boost cognitive performance. Most people come back from a breather with a more responsive mind and higher energy levels. Great examples of breaks that your child can take are creative nature-related outdoor activities such as hiking, biking through a trail, and swimming.
6. Insist that she get sufficient sleep.
Working through the night and straight into the next day may be the story behind certain successes in life, but wellness experts say that it’s always better to get enough sleep every night.
Make sure your child is in bed by 10 p.m. Studies show that at such time of the night, the hormones that boost health are released. These hormones then bump into each other to restore strength, repair cells and refresh the mind. When she regularly sleeps at the right time, your child can expect to remember and process information much better.
7. Always be ready with a hug.
There’s no denying that SAT training can be too tiring on certain days, and your child may not get the best results despite her efforts. In such a situation wherein you simply do not have any control, be ready with a hug.
There’s nothing like a parent’s loving hug to provide comfort and assurance that positive efforts and hard work will pay off.
These are just some of the ways to keep stress under control for your child while she prepares for the SATs. As simple as they may be, you can trust that these measures can have a significant impact on her well-being during a critical time during her life as a student, and she will appreciate all the rewarding effects.
Maloy Burman is the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Premier Genie FZ LLC. He is responsible for driving Premier Genie into a leadership position in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) Education space in Asia, Middle East and Africa and building a solid brand value. Premier Genie is currently running 5 centers in Dubai and 5 centers in India with a goal to multiply that over the next 5 years.