It’s that time of the year again.
Yes, we all have gone through the much dreaded board examinations and somehow managed to wade and lurch our way through the month-long ordeal. When I think about them, I still have shivers running down my spine. I was always unsure of my preparation till the very last. I would unfortunately take on a lot of stress and as a result, would end up feeling anxious, nauseated and unwell before my papers.
Exam time is extremely crucial for every child; and even more so for parents. Not only is your child under immense stress and anxiety, he/she might also be sleeping less. All these can wreak havoc on your child’s health. In most cases, even after being fully prepared, most children are unable to perform due to lack of concentration, inability to recollect facts or simply because of drowsiness or physical/mental lethargy.
So as a parent, what all can you do to ensure this phase is smooth for your child? Here are some quick tips that will help your child focus better towards academics at the same time not letting the gruel take a toll on their health.
#1 Simply put, it is a ballgame involving proper planning, good nutrition, ample sleep, recreational breaks and a few other factors. One of the preliminary measures you can take is a given – help your child pace out his/her studies properly. Don’t let the load pile up for the last moment. Consistent preparation will leave them with enough time for revision and recreation.
#2 Some students assume an anxious and nervous state irrespective of their preparation. In such a situation, make your child take small breaks throughout the day. Talk to them, go for a walk, practice yoga and deep breathing exercises with them or simply let them listen to music, paint or draw. Adding ashwagandha to their diet can help in managing stress, nervousness and anxiety and can also aid in sleeping better. Green tea, when taken in moderation can also help. One of the biggest mistakes children make during exams is to sleep less, study continuously, eat and remain inactive. Not only will this elevate stress but also induce weight gain, mental lethargy and lack of alertness.
Green tea can help reduce stress
#3 According to Dr. Ritika Samaddar, Dietics, Max Hospital, “You have to make sure that your child is not eating junk, is getting adequate nutritional supply, is able to de-stress and sleep properly.” For the same, she suggests giving heavier meals to your child during the day and a light supper. “Eating a heavy dinner will be difficult on your child’s digestive system. You want to give your child enough fuel for the entire day, hence give energy dense food items in short intervals throughout the day,” noted Dr. Samaddar.
#4Caffeine is good for keeping alert but it also has dehydrating properties. One may choose tea or green tea over coffee and aerated, energy drinks. Foods with high water content should be included in the diet. Add lots of natural fluids in your child’s diet – coconut water, lassi,buttermilk, chaas, juices, soups. Some of the most recent studies have indicated that fluids help in mental alertness, concentration and preventing headaches.
#5 Dr. Rupali Datta, Chief Clinical Nutritionist at Fortis-Escorts Hospital shares, “Get adequate rest, there is no better stress buster than sleep. Catch up on 40 winks regularly. Another way to rest your brain is exercise. Take short 20 minute breaks during the day and do some light exercise, my favorite was putting on music and dancing my heart out. It refreshes you and puts you in an upbeat mood. Eat regular meals. Do not skip meals or eat while studying. Take time out to eat at the dining table with your family. Keep snacks like nuts and fruits at your side to munch regularly. They provide nutrients that help the body function better. This also prevents binge-eating and excessive weight gain. A warm cup of milk at bed time soothes the brain.”
#6 Avoid processed food items, especially fried and oily foods. Sugary foods should be avoided as they result in a rapid sugar high followed by an instant sugar drop.
Avoid sugary products
#7 “Plan your child’s diet in a way so as to ensure nutritional adequacy at the same time release of unwanted stress and anxiety. Opt for carbs that are derived from fresh fruits and vegetables and cereals – these are helpful to the brain,” shared Dr. Samaddar.
#8 Selenium and manganese help in releasing tension and focus better. Add fish, sprouted grains, fresh fruits and veggies in your child’s regular diet. Omega 3 fatty acids – found in most nuts and seeds like almonds – are good for the brain. A mix of handful of these should be given to children every day.
#9 “I usually recommend foods that help produce more of Serotonin, which is the calming hormone. Whole cereals, whole grains or other complex carbohydrates contain amino acids that help trigger this hormone. They also help reduce stress levels considerably,” concluded Dr. Samaddar.
#10 This one can not be taken casually. Do not let your child sleep poorly. Inadequate sleep can trigger a host of health issues that have severe repercussions. Always remember, we all get our second chances, a shot to take again; health is a blessing which shouldn’t be taken for granted and squandered away. At times, the most you need is a good night’s sleep to set things right, and you cannot possibly go wrong with it.