Parents can often have a direct impact on a child’s mental health at exam time and clinical psychologist at Murdoch University Pia Broderick has some advice for parents to ensure their children are as mentally healthy as they can be.
‘‘Parents are often really anxious because they think their children have this one shot to do Year 12 exams that will get them into the university course of their choice, which gets them into their career and they earn lots of money and so on,’’ she said.
‘‘There’s a lot of hype surrounding Year 12, it plays into the same anxiety.
‘‘Parents’ anxiety can often drive the student’s anxieties up because they’re around them but the fact is they’re getting enough from other students doing exams. So, having a parent or parents around them who are checking up on them constantly or who have high levels of anxiety will push their own levels up.’’
Dr Broderick said encouraging your children to follow simple diet, exercise and sleep guidelines was another way for them to stay on top of their studies.
‘‘One of the things that can be really useful is to make sure there’s really healthy food available and offer it—don’t insist,’’ she said.
‘‘And with exercise it’s actually a really useful thing for kids to have some downtime after an exam so that if they’ve got a morning exam you don’t want them to come home, grab some lunch and start studying again.
You want them to come home and have some downtime before they start again.’’