Exams and stress seem to have become synonymous to each other. During these months of feb and march, both the child and the parent go through tremendous amount of anxiety, stress and nervous tension. Endless comparisons, overpowering peer pressure, child’s innate desire to excel and outperform others, along with a dose of parental expectation and our system’s classic obsession towards grades and percentages, and before you realise you have a lethal cocktail. And this lethal cocktail not only leads to reduced alertness, depression and mood swings, it also takes our and our child’s eating routine and choices for a toss. Yes, as a parent, providing emotional support and guided advice is needed at this hour but also needed is a focus on your child’s eating habits, sleeping pattern and mental and physical fitness.
I realise that as parents, we are always careful about what our child eats and should eat and for that matter go to the extent of pestering him to take care of his food choices. But during exams, we somehow let the nagging and pestering come down, we somehow agree to listen to their excuses on how much they need to munch on wafers while reading or can have only a glass of milk for dinner. We want them to study, so do not want to trouble them with ‘yeh khayo aur yeh mat khayo’ during this time. We rather go out of the way and make sure that the child’s favourite food, whether it is chocolate pastry or pav bhaji is kept on the platter, just to please him or her so that they study well. Umpteen number of coffee is served so that they can stay awake till late and obviously when the child is studying late, he gets up late and here goes the breakfast in the bin! Correct me if I am wrong, but we parents unknowingly succumb to their demands. Skipping meals, preferring only snack items over proper lunches and dinners and ordering food from outside become routine. Watching TV or playing computer games are the chosen recreation after long study hours.
I know it is easier said than done, but parents, trust me, and trust the scientific evidence and numerous researches which point that ‘you can actually eat your way to good marks’. Exams are the the time when we need to be more careful about our child’s food preferences, pay more attention towards the their nutritional needs and keep more focus on their eating timetable along with their study timetable. Do not let the correct food choices or good nutrition slip down the priority ladder, especially during exams. Eating right and having a well balanced diet is always important but it attains utmost importance during exams. You would be amazed to know how what you put on your child’s plates can not only affect his alertness and memory but has also a profound effect on his moods, sleep patterns, concentration and ability to give his best during examination. So whilst EATING WELL AND EATING RIGHT won’t make your child a genius, it would definitely give him the edge he needs to perform better in exams.
So what do you put on their plates and most importantly, how should you put them so that they are eaten without a fuss?
Read my next article in the series ‘ EAT YOUR WAY TO GOOD MARKS’ ,about the nutrients which help in improving brain power and the eating habits which aid in meeting your child’s nutritional needs during these exam days.