5 March, 2020
This is exam season and the State, as well as the CBSE and ICSE board exams, are currently going on. Extreme amounts of pressure are put on Indian students during exams by their parents, the school and the society in general. The 10th and the 12th board exams are made out to be the most important events of their life. Apart from their doubts about their capabilities, and peer pressure, the kids naturally feel the weight of the expectations.
This may tend to affect them psychologically as not all kids can handle the pressure in the same manner. In a few cases, this ends up having adverse effects on their performance also. Hence, either as grandparents, or even as good family friends, or neighbours, there is a lot that senior citizens can do to help these kids; to handle the pressure, or overcome the same. Many senior citizens take to full-time counselling to help students with such issues. You may choose to do the same in your own house (your own grandkids), building, community, or neighbourhood also.
When the kids feel cornered from all around, they may just want to talk about it to someone; this is when you can lend your ears. It helps to listen carefully, empathically, and without interrupting or being judgmental. It is a possibility that the kids may open up easily to their grandparents, or senior citizens, as they feel, you understand these things better. Perhaps you can suggest them to take some breaks and do some meditation or help you with some chores as stress busters.
Also, if all they want to do is simple chit chat, do that and do not bring in the exam or pressure angle to remind them about it. That is being done by all the people around, and sometimes they may just want to forget about that for a while. So, chatting as if it’s just another normal day and bringing in the exams may help stabilise them a bit.
Only if you feel the need, offer to help them get organised, by setting up a timetable, or making sure they get up a fixed time in the morning. Perhaps, the parents are working, and you may have to prepare some tea or coffee at intervals for them. It is also possible with some mischievous kids that you may have to monitor them to check if they are paying attention to their studies. You may also help them understand certain topics or subjects better, if at all.
Any offer of help should not be felt like an intrusion and should be welcomed from their side. Also, it is important not to fuss or hover too much around them; else they feel a bit too conscious or anxious about the exams. Some kids like to read out loud or learn better if someone else can read out to them. These are areas where you can help out.
Don’t dwell on the past
Constant reminders of past exams where they failed to perform well can cause more anxiety for the kids. Instead, it is important to create a positive environment around them. Try to inspire them to give their best, and also discuss things openly with their parents or teachers for addressing any difficulty. Encourage their parents to be supportive, as it is important not to lose the kids at any cost, and in the worst case, learn to accept kids for what they are. Not everyone can be toppers after all.
Also, when the exams are going on, if the kids have performed not so well in any paper, harping on it too much can affect their performance in the next one. Let it go, and instead, tell them to focus on the next one. It is important to make up and aim for the best possible results that can help them get ahead in life.
If you are addicted to TV, and it happens to be in the living room, you may have to stop watching the shows for a while. Especially when the kids are around, and focusing on studies, it is important to give up on all distractions; this will make sure they don’t get tempted to move towards the distractions. Even if you have some regular kitty parties, or group meetings, etc. these can be cut down or avoided when kids are studying at home. With most shows being available through streaming, you can easily catch up on these later, or when they are at school.
Grandparents can play a very important and balancing role in the lives of their grandkids, especially during the exam times. You may well be the calming presence they need to perform well, even if you don’t do anything else. So, this exam season, just chill and hang out with them and get them talking to beat the stress. Perhaps, you can even make travel or movie plans for after the exam, and this can put them in a good mood.
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