Ways to help your child through their exams
As a parent of three boys, two of which have already experienced GCSE stress and worry and our youngest currently sitting his. We know all too well how demanding they are. We also know how much stress they can cause – both parent and child.
Naturally as a parent we want to help our children through in any way we can.
Here are a few tips on how we as parents can help our child:
- It is very important to keep an eye out for any symptoms of stress or worry. Stress can affect people in many ways. Keep a close eye on your child’s behavior. If you notice any signs of stress or worry then try and get them to open up to you about what is worrying them so you can deal with it together.
- Help them to be organised, they have a lot going on at this important time that things can easily be forgotten.
- Make sure they are getting enough sleep. A good nights sleep works wonders. They will then be ready to tackle those dreaded exams with a clearer head.
- Encourage time-out. This will help them to switch off for a little while. It will help reduce the stress levels. You could have some quality time together. Go for a meal out somewhere, enjoy some fresh air together for a while. Anything for time-out and a break away from it all for a bit. Let them have a friend sleep over to have a night off from worrying and studying. They can then re-visit the studying feeling refreshed.
- Try and encourage them to drink plenty of water and cut down on the fizzy drinks.
- Stress and worry can play havoc with your appetite. Make sure they are eating, even if little and often. Make them up a plate of finger foods to pick at whilst studying.
- Make sure they have the space, peace and quiet to study. Having loads of noise and distractions can be hard when trying to study.
- Offer to help, perhaps you can do some printing, photocopying, run some questions past them or even let them question you on a few things. We did that and it lifted the mood when we couldn’t answer the question – well at least it made them laugh!
- Give them a break – their bedroom might be a mess but they have more important things going on at the moment.
- Make sure they have all the essentials needed. Revision notes, resources, books, stationary etc.
- Make sure that when they say they are studying they actually are. Some kids can be crafty and will actually be in their room on their phone. Perhaps try and encourage them to leave their phone with you to save any distractions, or do regular checks on them to see how they are getting on.
- If study leave is given try and be home to offer support and to make sure they are taking regular breaks.
- Work together with your child, perhaps draw up a revision timetable together that both agree on.
- Try and motivate your child, get them talking about their goals in life and how they hope to achieve them.
- Talk to them about their feelings and explain being nervous about the exams is normal. Perhaps ask the teacher to see if your child can look at past papers so they can see what they look like.
- A reward at the end of it all can also help a great deal. If they sit every exam and try their best in each then an allowance set for a treat of their choice can help keep them motivated.
- Give them plenty of hugs and reassurance. A hug can work wonders when we are all feeling stressed and worried.
Studying is important but it is also important not to overload our children with it all. All we can really do is encourage, listen and support them the best we can. Let them know we are here to help in whatever way they need us to be.