It’s that time of the year again. A new cohort of children is about to enter the “11+ lion’s den”. Sitting their first set of exams that will set the direction for the next stage of their educational life. Like modern-day gladiators, some are already veterans having gone through the trial by fire at 4+, 5+ and/or 7+. For the majority though, this will be their first experience.

The exams or rather the sitting of them is not as stressful as most people think. Nor is it the hours of sitting practise papers and numerous private tuition sessions. It is the emotional roller coaster largely powered by our (us parents) expectation of our children.

Justifying our approach, energy and determination, we do the necessary to enable our offspring to be admitted to ‘that’ chosen school. But, for the vast majority of us, our sole focus is not just the 11+. We also have to cope with the demands of our day-to-day family needs, and of course a day job.


Our life, represented as a candle, would be burning at both ends as well as in the middle! And therein lies the key to dealing with 11+ exam stress. Making Time to spend with your children.

In all reality, you probably knew this but if it was that easy you would have already done it. Setting time aside is one thing but how you use it is another. Time spent baking or going to the park, for instance, can prove a good distraction but is not the answer for every child.

Listening and Hearing

What often gets forgotten is how to get the child to express their needs and concerns. Getting a child to open up about their feeling can be highly challenging. There is no uniform answer or a magic wand but is like “finding a needle in a haystack”. If we force it, the child is more likely to close up further.

It is essential to get the right bit of guidance and support to navigate towards a better understanding of our children. Ironically, given the right circumstances, children just want to open up and tell it all.

A therapist can facilitate this, identifying ways that enable your child to naturally open up, talk. And, for you to listen and hear their concerns .

Should any of the above resonate and you would like to explore further, then register your interest for the course I run for parents and children to go through this.

The course sessions will be delivered online or as an actual workshop, with appropriate social distancing, depending on the prevailing advice.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *