Here are 10 great tips to help you support your children during the exam revision period
It is normal for kids to feel nervous about their approaching exams and it is important for you to help them ensure that their time is well spent.
- Every child is an individual. What may work for one child may not work for another (particularly true for boys v girls). You know your child better than anyone else, talk it over with their Mum then decide between you what is best for them. Get the balance right – they are under enough pressure already, don’t push them over the edge.
- Be positive. Develop a positive mental attitude and help to achieve the same for your son or daughter. There is plenty of time (well that depends on when you are reading this article – but start as soon as you can!).
- Be realistic. Don’t demand ‘A’ grades when your child is not capable of it. Everyone can succeed at their own level; don’t compare them with others (particularly other siblings). It isn’t helpful and they can be really de-motivated by it.
- Help them get prepared.Use this as time together e.g.
- Go shopping with them to buy paper, highlighters, pens, revision guides etc.
- Help them create a revision timetable that you both agree on. Stick one on the fridge & one up in their room.
- Find them a dedicated place to work. Quiet, plenty of space, good lighting and no distractions – but, ideally somewhere that they can be seen!
- When they revise, make an agreement with them not to use mobile phones, MSN, internet or have music playing. Discuss why you think this is a good idea and ask them ‘is this reasonable?’ – If they say ‘yes’, you have a rule. If they say ‘no’ you may need to discuss it further!
- Get them to start revision as soon as possible. The later they begin the harder it will be and the more stressed everyone will become.
- Be supportive. Keep encouraging and try not to get into arguments. Be prepared to be a shoulder to cry on or even an emotional ‘punch bag’ when needed. Take an interest without being overbearing.
- Encourage a healthy lifestyle. Ensure they are getting regular, healthy meals – cut out the junk and snack eating. Get them to exercise at least three times a week, perhaps join them & get fit yourself! Exercise is a known stress reliever so it is well worth the time & having a break from study.
- Help them revise.Most young people will enjoy having you take an interest (up to a limit!) Ideas to help them include:
- Asking them to explain it to you – this makes them think about how much they really understand what they are learning, as opposed to regurgitating facts.
- Get them to give you a list of questions you can ask them.
- Build in small rewards for work done e.g. pay for a night out with friends (with a reasonable curfew), rent a film or order a take-a-way as a treat.
- Coping with stress. Make sure they have time off, be aware of them working too hard. Ensure they get plenty of sleep. Talk to them, and more importantly, make time to listen. If they are becoming stressed you want to be aware of the issues as soon as possible.
- Just before the exam. A good night’s sleep is vital so ensure the house is as ‘peaceful’ as possible i.e. this is not the time for marital disputes. Make other siblings aware of the situation and ensure they understand the need for ‘peace’ at this time. Get up early on the day of the exam and surprise them with a healthy breakfast. Ensure they leave home fully equipped and knowing where they are going and what time they should be there.
- Final words. Let your last words be ones of encouragement – you will love them no matter what happens today…well done for all the effort they have put into revision…you believe in them…go, do your best & we will celebrate the end of exams together!
Adapted from ‘Parents’ Revision Tips’ by P. Rattu 2007