Top Tips to Support Your Examinee

As a parent, if you have a child in school, or if you’re navigating the academic waters yourself… you’re well aware that we’re in the thick of midterm season.

To begin with, in my household the tension during exam time is almost palpable.

Meanwhile, balancing the fine line between employing tiger mom tactics and adopting a gentler parenting approach has always been a challenge for me, and my husband feels equally lost.

Bracing for another taxing testing season, I was venting my frustrations over the phone to my mother-in-law. I didn’t expect much when she offered me her advice…

To my astonishment, her suggestions worked wonders!

(It’s time I gave her the credit she deserves.)

So, here are the top 10 strategies my mother-in-law shared to support our daughter through her midterms, steering clear of the high-pressure tiger mom approach. These tips are a wholesome mix of scientific insights and heartfelt advice!

1) Eat Smart

Research shows that a well-balanced diet rich in nutrients like

  • Omega-3 fatty acids,
  • Antioxidants,
  • And complex carbohydrates

can enhance cognitive function and support optimal brain health.

Get creative in the kitchen with brain-boosting ingredients like

  • Salmon,
  • Berries,
  • Leafy greens,
  • And whole grains

to fuel your kiddo’s study adventures.

To me, that sounds like a recipe for some hot pot with berries as dessert!

Yum! (1)

2) But — Don’t Forget to Snack!

Snacking on healthy foods throughout the day can help

  • Maintain stable blood sugar levels
  • And provide a steady source of energy for studying.

Opt for nutrient-dense snacks like

  • Nuts,
  • Seeds,
  • Greek yogurt,
  • And fresh fruits

to keep your kiddo’s energy levels soaring during study marathons.

I have fond memories of my own parents bringing me cut up fruit late at night when I was still a student as a way.

PS: If your kids are tired of “healthy” snacks, try this easy banana bread recipe!

Best part, it’s not too sweet! (2)

3) Keep Home Peaceful

As a mom, you have a lot of control over creating a calm and nurturing home environment to help your teen or tween reduce stress and relax during midterms.

Feng shui techniques might sound a bit faddish, but there is a lot to be said for them (my mother-in-law is a big believer!) and they can:

  • Declutter,
  • Simplify
  • And create a peaceful environment for your home and family (3).

4) Remind Your Teen to Pace Themselves

This may seem surprising, but taking regular breaks is crucial for

  • Maintaining focus,
  • Preventing burnout,
  • And enhancing productivity during study sessions!

These breaks will be especially effective if you can make them outside.

There is a ton of research to show that being in a natural environment is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety.

Forest bathing?

Tai chi in the park?

These are so many ways to get your nature on (4)!

5) Hug it Out

Research suggests that physical touch, such as hugs, releases oxytocin, a hormone known as the “love hormone,” which can

  • Reduce stress
  • And promote feelings of security and well-being.

Historically in Asian culture, parents have struggled expressing their love as easily as Americans do, but we should try and be there for our children with open arms.

Sometimes, a hug is all it takes to melt away the stress (and the generational trauma!) and make your kiddo feel supported and loved (5).

6) Don’t Stop Talking

Effective communication is the cornerstone of a supportive parent-child relationship, especially during stressful times like midterm season.

Keep the lines of communication wide open and check in with your kiddo often to offer a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on.

Create a safe space where they feel comfortable sharing their thoughts, feelings, and concerns, and validate their experiences with empathy and understanding (6)

7) Study Buddy to the Rescue

Most springs, I felt like I never even got to see my children!

This year I switched things out and offered to be their study buddy. Sometimes, a helping hand can make all the difference in understanding tricky subjects and mastering complex concepts.

Dive into the world of academia with your kiddo and offer support and guidance with study materials, practice problems, and test prep strategies.

This is a fantastic way to bond with your young child!

If you have an older child, unfortunately, you’re probably already aware that they don’t always want Mom teaching them Calculus.

If your child wants to bring friends over to study with instead, let them!

Working together as a team can enhance learning, retention, and academic success (7).

8) Teach Your Teen Time Management

Time management skills are essential for navigating the demands of midterm season and juggling multiple responsibilities effectively.

Guide your children in creating a study schedule that’s as flexible as a yoga master, with designated blocks of time for studying, breaks, and leisure activities.

Encourage them to

  • Prioritize tasks,
  • Set realistic goals,
  • And track their progress to stay on track and make the most of their study sessions (8).

9) Make “Me Time” a Top Priority

Encourage your kiddo to prioritize self-care rituals like yoga sessions, bubble baths, and doodle breaks to recharge their batteries and keep stress at bay.

Research suggests that engaging in activities that promote relaxation and well-being, such as

  • Meditation,
  • Deep breathing exercises,
  • And creative expression

can reduce stress levels, improve mood, and enhance cognitive function.

Encourage your kiddo to carve out time for self-care activities that nourish their body, mind, and soul, and remind them that taking care of themselves is essential for academic success and overall well-being (9).  

10) Lead with Love

Show your kiddo the importance of balance by prioritizing your own self-care routines and leading by example.

Research suggests that parents who model healthy behaviors are more likely to have children who adopt similar habits and lead healthier lives.

Examples of these healthy behaviors may be: 

  • Regular exercise
  • Proper nutrition
  • And stress management techniques 

Take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally, and demonstrate healthy coping mechanisms for managing stress and navigating life’s challenges.

Let’s lead by example (10)!

To sum it up, while navigating midterm season may feel like a wild roller coaster ride, we’ll support our children the best way we know how…

With a heap of love, effort, and understanding!

Don’t forget–we’re all in this parenting journey together! We can do this one cuddle, snack, and victory dance at a time.