What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about your kids’ exams?
Most parents I know fall into one of two categories. The first is result-oriented. They want to see their child succeed and are prepared to do anything to help them get the best possible results. The second group, however, focuses on wellbeing. They’ll often disregard school results, choosing instead to prioritize health, happiness, and the pursuit of their children’s dreams.
And let me tell you something. Both of these approaches are 100% legitimate. As a parent myself, I am often torn between wanting what’s best for my kids and trying to give them a nudge towards fulfilling their potential.
But how can we, as parents, help our children face school-related challenges? We can’t disregard the fact that in today’s world, exam results and grades matter. Even if they’re not objective measures of a person’s talents and capabilities.
With this in mind, I guess the real question isn’t how we can influence or help our kids do better in exams. Perhaps, more importantly, we need to start thinking about efficient ways to support them before, during, and after. Here are some exam tips for parents:
A Word About Childhood and Stress
Statistical data from the past decade shows that one-fifth (that’s 20%) of school-age children worry a great deal or a lot. All the while, only 3% of parents consider their kids to be under stress.
That’s a significant discrepancy between the real and perceived states of children’s emotional wellbeing.
What’s more, kids’ mental tension can be easy to mistake for something else. Common signs like appetite changes, headaches, bedwetting, sleep problems, or irritability can indicate other issues. And let’s not get started about those turbulent teenage years where hormones, first love, and identity crises come into play.
One of the exam tips for parents is to learn stress management and they should teach their children. Stress management is an extremely important skill to learn early in life.
We adults may know that we need some extra self-care during demanding workdays or rocky relationship periods. But are we helping our kids recognize this need and take proper care of themselves? I’m guessing that we’ve still got some improvement to do on that front. Especially when it comes to life events like exams.
Using Routine to Cope with Challenging Times
If we think about the things that get us through life’s most difficult periods, then one of the most prominent answers is routine. Whether we’re rushing to meet a deadline, preparing for a big event, or juggling several projects at once, having a plan of action is always of great help.
And children’s obligations should be approached in the same way.
Of course, their routine doesn’t have to rely on calendar apps or bullet journals. But teaching them to come up with a stable schedule can go a long way.
For example, we know that school performance isn’t just determined by the amount of revision a person does beforehand. Being well-rested, having had a nutritious meal, keeping calm, and feeling confident is just as influential.
So, a way to support our children before exams is to help them create a plan. One that takes both academic, physical, and mental preparation into consideration.
Try to sit down with your kid and create a schedule that allows enough time to revise, attend after-school activities, relax, and sleep. Sure, it’ll take some trial and error. But sticking to a routine that works will also take the pressure off. Plus, it’ll help you both focus on the academic side of things instead of having to deal with the distractions.
Talking About School Performance and Exams
In addition to routine, communication can be another powerful weapon in your parenting arsenal.
Talk to your child about their upcoming exams. Ask them about their expectations. Find out whether they’re struggling with a particular subject. Inquire about how you can better support them.
Even more, be attentive to what they’re saying. Your child may not know how to express that they’re stressed or worried, but their behavior will signal if anything is amiss.
It’s also not a bad idea to talk about the nature of tests and exams. Explain to your child that there’s more to life than grades but that doing their best is relevant nonetheless. Prepare them for the possibility that they won’t do as well as they’d like. After all, we all slip sooner or later in life. Knowing how to deal with failure is a skill that we should all work on.
Incorporate Some Handy Tricks into Study-Time
Finally, supporting your child before their exams might require you to join in on their study sessions. This is especially the case if it’s their first time taking a test. And while this may seem like a chore, it’s actually an excellent opportunity to prepare them for similar challenges they’ll face later in life.
Try to do your best to make the experience enjoyable. Look for ways to motivate them to get the work done. Turn study time into a game and teach them tricks about how to memorize facts.
Experts also suggest using aids. Things like ambient music or scents have been found to promote a learning environment. Not only that, but they may also play a part in helping the brain store information.
As you’re well-aware, parenting is no walk in the park – especially if your kid is dealing with a challenging time like taking exams.
So, the best thing you can do is be there for them when they need you the most, whether that means helping with revisions, setting up a schedule, or just letting them vent their worries.
In the end, it’s best to remember that what matters most isn’t a score or a grade. Instead, it’s that your child is healthy, happy, and building habits that will serve them throughout their life.
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