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Ten things to remember as a parent in exam season

As parents our priority is ensuring the needs of our children are met and during exam time this need is at an all time alert! With additional pressures and worries it is important you are able to provide sufficient support to help them cope. So this week we consider how, as a parent, you can sail through the choppy currents of exam time without feeling overwhelmed with the strains and stresses yourself.

You will need to be many things for your child; their facilitator, their soundboard, their support and their parent. So here are some things to remember to help you with this during exam time.

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No. 1 Remember to give them space…

Space and calm to revise is crucial. They need to feel as relaxed as they can about revising else it is a pointless task. Avoid trying to control how they study as this only adds undue pressure. They need to feel responsible for their own learning. This does not mean, of course, leaving them to their own devices and hoping they pick up a book! Ask them when they are planning to revise and how you can help with this e.g. ensuring the house is quiet at certain times or being available to test them.

No. 2 Remember planning is key…

Planning will ease their concerns as well as yours! Sit down and write a list with them breaking down all the subjects they need to cover, or help them devise a revision timetable. A plan will help them to stay focused and reduce your need to check up on them!

No. 3 Remember your exam days…

Looking back at how you coped during exam time can help give you an insight into how your child is thinking. No matter what your results were, this period was probably accompanied with worry, anxiety and even a sense of isolation. Were your parents supportive? What would you have appreciated from them? Can you give this to your child?

No. 4 Remember this is all part of growing up…

Experiencing challenges is essential for a child’s emotional development. Through preparing for and sitting exams they hone crucial skills such as patience, organisation, concentration and resilience, all of which are needed for success and survival in the adult world. Think of this time as a naturally tough but necessary phase for your child.

Private tuition by MSTNo. 5 Remember to provide all round support…

Cooking nutritious meals, having healthy snacks on standby, encouraging them to break for a cup of tea or go for a refreshing walk with you are all great for ensuring they are getting the correct sustenance mentally and physically. Be their support by letting them know during breaks you are available to them to offer assurance or distraction. It is also important to notice changes in their behaviour. Are they eating properly? Are they getting enough rest? How is their general mood? Look, listen and respond to your child.

 

No. 6 Remember who your child is…

You child is unique! They have their own strengths and talents which are not always tested by an exam so it is important you remind them of that. You value them above any exam so try not to let unrealistic expectations mar how you respond to them during this time. It is all about balance; understanding their potential and ability and encouraging them to give it their best shot.

No. 7 Remember not to focus on failure…

Children need reassurance that you love them unconditionally and this is separate from their achievements. Try to focus on the importance of learning and of the experience rather than on your expectations and hopes. You need to understand your own ideas about educational success and failure as this will likely be how your child also views it. Where have you set the bar? Is this realistic for them? Could you ease the pressure a little by talking to them? Paralysing them by fear of failure is as useful as them being too relaxed. Again, it is all about balance.

No. 8 Remember to remain in the present…

You need to concentrate on the here and now because let’s face it, children tend to think in the present, they do not view the world as we do. Allowing them to share their fears and telling them to take things one step at a time is more helpful than focusing on the routes their life may take according to their exam grades.

MST-medalNo. 9 Remember the rewards!…

Rewards! Not bribes! Rewards are positive reinforcement whereas bribes give a skewed view of the world. A good result is a reward in itself for hard work and you can scatter little rewards around during this period when they look like they need a boost. A long day revising could be rewarded with their favourite home-cooked meal…..it’s a little acknowledgement to them that you have noticed their hard work.

No. 10 And finally, remember…

There is always a second shot. Whilst we all hope for the best results first time round, emotions are running high and mistakes can happen, but this can be remedied. Bearing this in mind as a parent, could help to calm your own anxieties and, in turn, your childs.

 

If you feel your child may benefit from some tuition in the run up to their exams then contact us on ma@mathematicsandsciencetuition.com

MST-Muhammad Ali