How to Help Your Child Overcome Exam Stress for Good

Getting through exams can be challenging, but try not to panic. There are ways to beat exam stress and ensure that you get the best possible results.

Good planning and a realistic revision (*study) schedule can turn a heavy workload into something manageable. And knowing you have a schedule can help you manage your nerves.

It’s Wise to Revise

overcoming exam stress

It sounds obvious, but revision (*studying) really is the key to exam success. Being fully prepared for your exams is the most effective way to overcome stress and anxiety, and gives you the best chance of getting the best grades you can.

Before you start revising, the amount of work you have to do might seem overwhelming. Many exam timetables require you to study for lots of different subjects at once, and it’s easy to feel daunted.

Deal with this by making a revision (*study) schedule you can stick to. Work out how much you have to do and the time you have to do it in, then break it down into chunks. Allocate yourself a few hours of revision a day, and mix up your subjects so that you don’t get bored.

It’s also important to find a revision style that suits you. Studying alone in a quiet room suits many people, but not everyone likes working in silence. Try playing music quietly in the background, or revising (*studying) with a friend (but don’t let them distract you).

You could customise your notes to make them more personal. Experiment with colour coding, note cards, diagrams or whatever helps you learn your topic.

If you come across something you don’t understand, try to find a new source of information rather than just memorising it, as this won’t help you in your exam. Don’t be afraid to ask your teacher or a friend for help if you need it.

Looking at past exam papers can also be useful, as you can familiarise yourself with the layout and type of questions you’ll be asked. Practise completing the exam paper in the set time limit so you know what you need to do to improve your exam technique.

Rest and Relaxation

Revision (*studying) is an essential part of exam success, but it’s also important that you don’t overdo it. Studying for hours and hours without a break will only make you tired and ruin your concentration, which may make you even more anxious.

Stress is a natural feeling that’s designed to help us cope in difficult situations. In small amounts, it’s good for you because it pushes you to work hard and do your very best.

However, too much stress can cause problems such as headaches and loss of appetite, and can make you bad tempered. Avoid excess stress by taking frequent short breaks while you’re working. A break every 45-60 minutes is about right.

During your breaks, do something relaxing, such as reading a book or going for a short walk. Taking your mind off your work will help you come back to it feeling refreshed. It can also help if you reward yourself after each revision (*study) session. For example, with a long bath or a good DVD.

When you’re not revising (*studying), use your spare time to get away from your books and do something physical. Exercise is good for taking your mind off stress and keeping you positive, and it will help you sleep better.

If you’re still feeling stressed, it’s important to talk to someone you trust, such as a family member, teacher or a friend. Many people find exams difficult to deal with, so don’t be embarrassed to ask for support.

On the Day

It’s natural to be nervous on the day of your exam, but don’t let your nerves take over. Start the day with a good breakfast, and give yourself plenty of time to get to the exam hall. Remember to take everything you need, including pencils, pens and a calculator. A bottle of water and some tissues are also useful.

Once the exam has started, take a few minutes to read the instructions and questions so you know exactly what’s expected of you. Ask an exam supervisor if anything is unclear; they’re there to help you.

Plan how much time you’ll need for each question. Don’t panic if you get stuck on a question, but try to leave yourself enough time at the end to come back to it. Even if you’re really stumped, an educated guess is better than leaving it blank.

When the exam is over, don’t spend too much time going over it in your head or worrying about it. Resist the temptation to compare your answers with those of your friends. If you have more exams to come, focus on the next one instead.

Editor’s Note: *clarification provided for our US readers.

Child Health & Safety News Roundup: 11-21-2016 to 11-27-2016

twitter thumbIn this week’s Children’s Health News: Holiday Allergies: if your child sneezes when you put up the XMas tree, it may not be the pine – it could be mold

Welcome to Pediatric Safety’s weekly “Child Health & Safety News Roundup”- a recap of the past week’s child health and safety news headlines from around the world. Each day we use Twitter and Facebook to communicate relevant and timely health and safety information to the parents, medical professionals and other caregivers who follow us. Occasionally we may miss something, but we think overall we’re doing a pretty good job of keeping you informed. But for our friends and colleagues not on Twitter or FB (or who are but may have missed something), we offer you a recap of the past week’s top 15 events & stories.

PedSafe Child Health & Safety Headline of the Week:
Normal head size at birth doesn’t rule out microcephaly, Zika syndrome after birth

2016 Toys”R”Us Toy Guide For Differently-Abled Kids

differently-abled-toy-guide-2016-smallHoliday shopping for kids with special needs can be challenging, but the Toys”R”Us Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids can make it a little easier. Thoroughly researched and tested, the guide features symbols that stand for skills like auditory, language, social skills and others to help shoppers know the skills involved with each item. Since children with special needs may be on different developmental levels, there are no age suggestions in the guide. Pictures of the products will help you see if something would be too babyish or too advanced for your gift recipient. The reviews by customers are helpful, too.

The guide also includes a list of questions like “places the toy will be used”, “method of activation”, “opportunities for success”, etc. to help parents and caregivers ensure the right toy is purchased for each child’s current skill and abilities. Tips for ensuring safe play and even a guide to apps for mobile devices for children with differing needs are also included.

Coming Soon: Fantastic Beasts is Sensory Friendly 3 Times at AMC

New sensory friendly logoAMC Entertainment (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other special needs “Sensory Friendly Films” every month – a wonderful opportunity to enjoy fun new films in a safe and accepting environment.

The movie auditoriums will have their lights turned up and the sound turned down. Families will be able to bring in snacks to match their child’s dietary needs (i.e. gluten-free, casein-free, etc.), there are no advertisements or previews before the movie and it’s totally acceptable to get up and dance, walk, shout, talk to each other…and even sing – in other words, AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced during movie screenings unless the safety of the audience is questioned.

fantastic-beasts-posterDoes it make a difference? Absolutely! Imagine …no need to shhhhh your child. No angry stares from other movie goers. Many parents think twice before bringing a child to a movie theater. Add to that your child’s special needs and it can easily become cause for parental panic. But on this one day a month, for this one screening, everyone is there to relax and have a good time, everyone expects to be surrounded by kids – with and without special needs – and the movie theater policy becomes “Tolerance is Golden“.

Families affected by autism or other special needs can view 3 sensory friendly screenings of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in November and December: Saturday, November 26th at 10am and Tuesdays, November 29th and December 13th at 7pm (all local times). Tickets are $4 to $6 depending on the location. To find a theatre near you, here is a list of AMC theatres nationwide participating in this fabulous program (note: to access full list, please scroll to the bottom of the page).

Coming in December: Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Tues, 12/13), Moana (Sat, 12/10) and Star Wars: Rogue One (Tues, 12/27)


Editor’s note: Although Fantastic Beasts has been chosen by the AMC and the Autism Society as this month’s Sensory Friendly Film, we do want parents to know that it is rated PG-13 by the Motion Picture Association of America for some fantasy action violence. As always, please check the IMDB Parents Guide for a more detailed description of this film to determine if it is right for you and your child.

Flu Shot Facts You Need to Know to Protect Your Family

Some surprising flu shot facts to spur you to protect yourself and your family this winter.

Our house recently got hit by a VERY nasty virus. We had someone sick at home for over a month – and each of us missed about a week of work or school, with lingering after effects. It’s been a tough road! I was the last to get the bug and the timing couldn’t have been worse. I was so sick I wasn’t able to attend national music championships that my son was competing in….and his school WON! Best in the country….but I missed it.

flu-facts2This got me thinking about the flu and annual flu shots. The illness we had seemed every bit as bad as the flu, but we knew the bug wasn’t influenza. We had all been to the doctor – and the symptoms just didn’t quite fit (see the F.A.C.T.S. in the box to the right). Plus 2 out of the 3 of us had already had our flu shots for the season. It was just a really bad cold. But it made me think about the benefits of the flu shot – something which CAN avoid the risk of an illness as bad as the one we all just suffered through.

Critical Info for 2016-2017 Flu Season

The nasal flu mist vaccine is NOT recommended this season due to concerns about how well it works – so kids will need to get the standard shot. And it’s not too late for kids or adults to get vaccinated. Click here for more information on this season’s guidelines.

Benefits of the Flu Shot

  • Prevent your kids from missing lots of school (in higher grades this can really set them back and create stress – which it did for our son)
  • Prevent you from missing lots of work – or REALLY important events – like your child competing in a national championship!!
  • Pflu shot foctsrotect you and your child from the most severe risks of the flu
    • The flu kills – as WW1 drew to a close in 1918, more people died from the flu pandemic of the time than from the war – which any female who followed the Twilight series would know!
    • But even in regular flu seasons people (and kids) die – over the past 10 years, the number of children killed by influenza in the US has ranged from 34 to 171 per year – EXCEPT for the 2009 flu pandemic when well over 300 children died!
  • Not so concerned by these small numbers? How about protecting your child from ending up in the hospital with influenza complications?
    • Each year an average of 20,000 children younger than 5 years old are hospitalized in the US because of flu complications – the risk is especially bad for kids under age 2
    • The most common complication of influenza is pneumonia – which was found to be one of the main drivers of the death toll during the 1918-19 flu pandemic
    • Other less common but very severe flu complications include
      • Breakdown of muscle tissue that can cause kidney damage (rhabdomyolysis)
      • Inflammation and damage of the heart muscle (myocarditis)
      • Swelling and damage of the brain, including seizures (encephalitis)
    • Protect those you love and others in your community – not everyone can get the flu shot, including babies younger than 6 months, so help keep everyone safe by getting vaccinated

Fun Fact About Flu Shot Development

Did you know that the experts who decide what flu strains go into the seasonal vaccine don’t just guess or pick what goes in the vaccine at the last minute? They are constantly monitoring the state of the flu all around the world. For example, when flu season is over in the US and Europe – it moves south to places like Australia, since their winter occurs when it’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere. There are 5 major centers around the world that coordinate with the World Health Organization on flu tracking – in the US, UK, Australia, Japan and China. All this information helps with choosing the best possible strains for the seasonal vaccine in each region.

Video: A Podiatrist Explains Common Issues with Children’s Feet

In this brief video, a podiatrist explains common foot problems in children, including verrucas (*warts) and curly toes, and the possible solutions.

Editor’s Note: Video Highlights

  • When assessing children’s feet, podiatrists are interested in symmetry and good developmental progression
    • They ask about the child’s birth as well as key stages like crawling and walking
  • childrens-feet-issuesThe most common problem with children’s feet is verrucas – known in the US as warts
    • The video states that warts or verrucas are a normal infection and don’t necessarily need treatment – unless the child is limping or in pain due to the wart
  • The second most common problem is curly toes – which looks like crossing-over or overlapping toes, or toes that are more crooked than they should be
  • For children under 4, the podiatrist can tape the toes and help straighten them out over a couple of months
    • This is because at young ages the toes are still soft with lots of cartilage
    • However, they may also need an insole in their shoes
  • Another common issue is tiptoe walking – but it is only a problem is the child cannot obtain heel contact with the ground
    • If there is significant tightness in the calf muscle because of contstant walking on tiptoe, then calf muscle stretches and a foot assessment may be needed
  • Flat feet should be looked at by a podiatrist – symptoms can include foot tiredness, tilting and rotating feet – and family history of foot problems is a risk
  • Children can also suffer from painful heels – which occurs when they get an overpull of the heel due to uneven growth
    • These kids may be a bit flat-footed and they might need shoe insoles and stretches
  • Occasionally children can also get bunions – starting as early as eight years of age
    • Bunions have a strong family history – so are inherited to a large degree
    • Evidence shows that surgery on young children with bunions is NOT a good idea
    • Your physician or podiatrist is likely to take less extreme measures until they grow to age 18 or 19 and their bones have stopped growing
  • Typical foot treatments for children include shoe and exercise advice, specialized insoles (also known as orthotics), which are often shaped specifically for the child

Editor’s Note: *clarification provided for our US readers.