The January exam season is well under way. Exam periods for children can often invoke images of bunkering down beneath piles of books and wallpapers being barely visible under the collage of mind maps. It will most likely be a stressful time for a child and in turn can make a stressful environment at home. As a parent, exam periods are usually a balancing game, you don’t want to be hovering over your child’s shoulder, as that often doesn’t help them learn, but you want to provide the most care in a trying time of the year for your son or daughter.
Below are five ways in which a parent can help their child through exam season.
- Make sure your child isn’t spending every waking minute at their desks. Whether this is making sure they eat dinner at the family table, or just taking short breaks after an allotted time period, this small relaxation period is exactly what children need to be able to concentrate properly. At school the walk between classrooms between lessons is perfect for this and making sure the idea translates to revision at home will give significant boosts to study productivity.
- Make sure you are on top of the practicalities of exam season. Think of going to an airport – a stressful time for the family is managed by keeping all of your important documents in one location. Making sure your child has a copy of their timetable, all the necessary equipment and all the learning resources they need for their exams in one place removes a lot of the faff that can put additional stress on the period.
- “Drink plenty of fluids, eat a good healthy breakfast,” are the words of the author of The Ultimate Study Skills Handbook. Though written for university students, this advice is doubly important for school age children. Without nagging, assure your child has plenty of water available while revising, and make sure they have a healthy meal the night before their exam. Save the takeaway as a post-exam celebration! Also remember, eating breakfast helps with children’s concentration throughout the day, so make sure they are properly fed on the day!
- It is likely that your child will have multiple exams over a single exam period. One thing that can often derail a child in between exams is trying to deconstruct how the exam went. It’s important from a parental perspective to celebrate the hard work that has gone into taking the exam, rather than lament the potential result. Give your child some relaxation time to clear their mind through a fun activity, and remind them that one missed answer won’t change their life!
- Help your child organise their study space. Trying to learn can easily become very frustrating if you aren’t organised in your approach. A simple misplaced worksheet can add to the stress of revising and put up barriers to learning where they need not exist. Best done as early as possible, assist your child in making sure the environment they are working in is comfortable and organised – making sure they are also happy with the space they have for revision.