Children and their parents burn books after PSLE exams

Children and their parents burn books after PSLE exams

What are we teaching our kids when parents stand around watching their children burn textbooks? This actually happened in Singapore recently following the end of PSLE exams. Is this how we encourage post-exam stress relief in our kids? We present 5 alternative ways of busting your kids' stress levels following exams. Read on to find out!

Many Singaporean families heaved a collective sigh of relief at the end of the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).

Exams can be a stressful time for both kids and their parents, so the end of the PSLEs were certainly a reason to celebrate. But some families took their celebrations a step further – by burning their textbooks.

The photo of families burning school textbooks was first published on Shin Min Daily News, and was subsequently circulated on various social media channels.

post-exam stress relief

What lessons are we teaching our children by encouraging them to burn books?

The photograph has drawn strong reactions from the public. Some have accused these families of degrading knowledge and education, while others have questioned why the books were not donated to the needy instead of senselessly destroying them.

Perhaps what is most worrying about this is that parents too participated in the book-burning episode. What kind of example were they setting for their own kids and other children?

In an age when books are rapidly being replaced by impersonal electronic gadgets, parents should be encouraging their kids to cherish books, not destroy them.

The other ‘burning issue’ that is highlighted by this incident is the amount of stress kids feel because of exams and their mindset related to exams. Sadly, they associate their books with this stress without seeing them as part of their learning journey.

Surely there are better ways of relieving post-exam stress?

Here are 5 alternative ways of helping your kids let out some steam after exams – and there’s not a burning book in sight on our list!

1. Donate!

Burning schoolbooks is such a shame and a waste of precious educational resources. There are are so many needy kids in SIngapore who would just love to get these books, and what’s more, would appreciate these precious resources so much. Donating also teaches your children about philanthropy and imparts on them important values such as generosity and thoughtfulness. NTUC Fairprice often has book donation drives around this time of the year. Do check their website or call them to see when it is on this year. Here are some other useful links:

2. Volunteer!

Similar to donating, volunteering teaches kids valuable lessons in social awareness. But with volunteering, they actually get hands-on opportunities to make a difference in the life of someone who perhaps doesn’t have as much as they do. They will definitely feel good knowing this, and what better way of relieving stress than to feel happy and useful. For volunteering opportunities that are appropriate for your children, do check with your local community centre.


Exercise is an excellent way of dealing with stress and pressure. Endorphins released during exercise will bust your child’s stress. Exercise with your kid and make it a great bonding opportunity. You could jog, cycle or even walk together and while you do this, have a chat to your child about how he or she feels now that the exams are over.

post-exam stress relief

Getting your kid to exercise or play a sport is a great way of relieving post-exam stress and releasing happiness-inducing endorphins!

 4. Travel! 

We’re not talking about expensive, long-distance travel to Paris or New York. But do try and treat your kids to a different environment to help take their minds off the exams they just finished. Singapore has heaps of lovely places to visit. And we are lucky enough to be located close enough to other great Asian countries that offer wonderful holiday opportunities. Even a few days away should be enough to bust that post-exam stress – for all of you!

RELATED: Parks in Singapore you must visit!

5. Create happiness!

What does you child really enjoy doing that makes him or her happy? It could be anything from reading, singing, dancing, hanging out with friends, drawing…the list goes on. Encourage your child to really immerse herself in whatever makes her happy to help relieve any lingering post-exam stress. If it’s something like art or music, maybe consider enrolling her in an art/music class.

These methods are so much better than burning books in order to eliminate post-exam stress, and can actually teach your child valuable lessons, while making them happy at the same time.

Books are a symbol of education – let’s do our best to keep it that way!

What are your thoughts about the image of families burning textbooks? Do you know of any other ways of post-exam stress relief for children? Do let us know and share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment.

Got a parenting concern? Read articles or ask away and get instant answers on our app. Download theAsianparent Community on iOS or Android now!

app info
get app banner