Many children across Northern Ireland will receive entrance exam results this weekend. Parents can feel incredibly anxious about how best to handle results day, conscious that it can be a key memory for young people

The vital thing to remember this weekend is that your child’s mental health and wellbeing is far more important than academic achievement. Make this a weekend they’ll look back on fondly, regardless of how they did.  

Talk to your child 

Spend some time with your child the night before results day.  Let them know how special they are and how much you love them.  

Assure them that they have a bright future no matter what result they get. 

Celebrate your child 

Make results day a special day for your child, however they did.  List all the wonderful qualities they have, tell them how proud you are and plan a special treat.  

Keep busy 

Try to banish the thought of results from your child’s head and focus on their immediate happiness. Take them out somewhere special, go for a bike ride, have a movie day. They’ll likely remember this day so make it as happy as you can.  

Don’t brag 

You’ll feel very proud if your child did well, but don’t brag about it on social media or in chat groups. The only person who needs to know you are proud is your child.  

Don’t compare 

Comparing how your child did with their friends and classmates isn’t going to help anyone. Resist the urge to find out how others have done.  

Don’t catastrophise 

If you’re concerned or worried about your child’s results, put that thought to one side. You can’t do anything about it now and your child can pick up on your negative emotions. Tell them you’re proud of them, give them a hug and find something fun to do.  

Avoid using the word ‘fail’ 

The last thing you want is your child to view themselves as a failure. If they didn’t do as well as they’d hoped, let them know that it’s not a big deal and that their future holds boundless possibilities.  

Don’t dismiss how your child feels 

Your child may be excited or disappointed. Give them space to talk about how they feel and remind them that they are not defined by exam results, good or bad.