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Feeling the Parenting Anxiety for PSLE Kids this Covid-19

In Singapore, the Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE) is a big milestone for a child’s education journey. This year, exam preparation collides with the anxious-causing Covid-19 pandemic. The written papers start tomorrow, 30 Sep 2021… and I’m sharing how I feel about this whirlwind season as I watch other parents and their kids prepare for their battles.

feeling the parenting anxiety for PSLE kids during Covid-19
All masked up and reaching out to uncertain boundaries this Covid-19.

I’m feeling the parenting anxiety for PSLE kids this Covid-19 although my children aren’t taking the exams

We’ve been living in this strange climate for an unbelievable soon-to-be two years! The dreadful virus has been lurking, living and multiplying amongst us.

These uncertain times, PSLE woes and health concerns are leaving many parents more worried than before.

Our lives have changed in various ways. Mention “work from home”, “home-based learning (HBL)”, “SLS or Student Learning Space” and every parent of primary schoolers will know!

For the P6 who are taking their all-important PSLE, they too, have to embrace the new routines, learn to revise at home with noisy siblings, cut down on outdoor or out-of-home fun ways to destress. In addition, they’ll be subjected to the new PSLE scoring system with new grade bands that replaces the T-score system in 2021.

This paper chase has been deeply intertwined in our academic culture. I’m not new to this as I was born, raised and schooled entirely in Singapore. With V starting Primary One last year, I remember wondering if she was well-prepared to start her new schooling adventure.

The main difference for these batch of graduating students?

homebased learning primary school
HBL has become a norm for children schooling in Singapore.

Getting used to living and studying with the virus

Are they wondering if they or their classmates/friends/tuition friends might test positive? Who will be called up for a Quarantine Order (QO) or Home Quarantine (HO)? Which kid will be taken away to a hotel with mum or dad? Which student will receive a Leave of Absence (LOA) or Approved Absence (AA) and to stay home and stay safe?

In fact, children who are confirmed Covid-19 cases, or, are close contacts who served a quarantine order will not be allowed to sit for the PSLE. After all that mugging since Primary 5 and then be told that one can’t take the exams would be a big blow to many, no?

Thanks to this unique circumstances, special arrangements are made for these national examination candidates.

The uncertainty of receiving a call from the Ministry of Health (MOH) can be nerve-wrecking. I’ve friends with kids going through this rite of passage at 12 years old. I’ve also seen a few parents of PSLE kids taking to social media to share their turmoil of emotions and experiences this season.

They’re the reasons why I’m penning this article to share about the parenting anxiety for PSLE kids this Covid-19. I feel for them!!

Having to take an ART or PCR and to swab frequently is becoming a normal affair. To be waiting for instructions from the respective authorities has become a norm for affected families too.

The raging daily cases are spiraling. Kids who have crossed their 12th birthday can take the vaccination, social interactions have to cut down and more. No birthday parties or celebrations, or post-exam travels during the school holidays either.

And of course, we are all expected to be ‘resilient’ more so than ever, while dealing with this invisible enemy, right? This buzzword feels like an overused one.

parenting anxiety for PSLE kids covid-19
Raising kids in this endemic or pandemic can be challenging, especially for families tackling major exams like the PSLE.

Learning to survive and thrive while managing exam anxiety

To be honest, it’s a great deal of things to deal with for both parents and kids taking the PSLE.

Parents have their own baggage of worries and adulting woes like work responsibilities and their senior parents to fret over. Their tweens are on the cusp of crossing their bridges to teen hood and still learning to manage big changes with expected maturity. Let’s not forget they’re going through puberty and hormonal changes does throw things out of whack at times.

Although my kids aren’t taking the papers this year, I can sense a tornado during this stressful period.

I’m not so sure how I’d take to navigating the PSLE adventure when it comes. I do hope I will learn to be a chill cheerleader for V and L when it’s my turn!

It’s probably not too early to remind myself and fellow parents that the PSLE is not a do or die thingy. Yes, the paper achievement is still essential; we can’t escape this paper chase just yet. Let’s be honest and face it.

So, what’s more important?

Our family’s health and happiness. Yup, family includes us, parents and of course, our babies.

Our wellness and spirit are bearing the brunt of all these pressure and expectations. With all the constant pushing of limits and toughening up, sometimes, the breaking point is there yet we don’t notice it.

Let’s make the best of the situation and remember to smile whatever the outcomes, okay? All the very best to all families taking the exams!

Is your child taking the national exams this year? Are you feeling the parenting anxiety for PSLE kids this Covid-19 season? Do share your tips on managing your child’s schedule and happiness levels too!

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