April is the season for spring flowers, Easter eggs and longer days – but it’s also the start of exam season. If you’re at home right now with an overwhelmed teenager, you might be wondering just how to get through the months of stress ahead.

There’s only so much we parents can do to support our teenagers through the anxiety of exams, but a key part of that is providing a calm and supportive space for their revision. Here’s a few tips for relieving exam stress.

Create a calm revision space

Most teenagers retreat into their bedrooms when they are in the house. It’s their private space for sleeping, talking to friends, playing games and so on – which means it also quickly becomes a very messy room. If you are scared to step foot into your son or daughter’s bedroom for fear of finding half your crockery and tripping over their floordrobe, you’ll know what I mean.

Unfortunately, a messy space is not really conducive to a focused hour of revision. To help your teenager settle down to revise, you have two options. Create a separate space in the house where they can sit down and focus – or be prepared to tackle their pit, pick up the washing and throw open the windows on a regular basis.

Discuss a routine

It’s also a lot easier for your child to revise if they have some sort of routine that incorporates work, regular breaks and a finish time where they can go out with friends or watch TV away from their books. Knowing that there is time out ahead will help to keep them motivated and reduce their stress levels.

Of course, agreeing a routine can be difficult in itself. While we might be all for early starts and busy mornings, your teenager might not stagger from their bed until midday over weekends and holidays. So, rather than trying to force them to suit your timetable, work out a schedule that suits you both. An afternoon of studying is more productive than sitting resentfully at a desk first thing in the morning.

Find ways to motivate and relax

There are other things as parents that we can do to help our children reduce stress and relax during the exam period.

Make plans for afternoons out so that they have time away from work altogether. A trip to the cinema, to go bowling or a meal out can be a good way to distract their minds for a few hours.

If your teenager is finding the stress becoming too much, a relaxing treatment such as reflexology can also be effective. Reflexology is non-intrusive and works on pressure points to release anxiety, leaving you feeling more relaxed and energised – the perfect treatment for young people who need time out to refocus while studying.

Be supportive and positive

As parents we want to be supportive – but we often also have to apply gentle pressure to get our teenagers moving towards their books. As anyone with a grumpy teenager knows, it can be a fine line to tread.

Try to avoid using negative language such as passing or failing their exams. Instead focus on the positive side, by praising them for their hard work and encouraging the effort they are putting in.

Make sure you listen to them when they are worrying as well. Being able to voice their worries is a good way to get fears out of their own head. Providing reassurance will help them feel less stressed and pressured.

Exam time stress

When the exams begin, a little pre-planning can help reduce a lot of the worry. Make sure they have had a good night’s sleep if you can. If your child normally rushes out the house at the last minute, try instead to create a calm start to the day by locating their clothes the night before, checking they have the right equipment and preparing a good breakfast and a snack they can take with them for energy.

And remember that it’s not just our children that can get stressed during the exam period. Once you have got them off to school, take some time for yourself. Enjoy a calming walk, or plan to visit a friend for brunch, or book in for a holistic reiki treatment for yourself. Then you’ll be more refreshed and ready to welcome them back from that first exam with a congratulatory hug.