Monday, 11 June 2018

What parents can do to help their children during exams.

Every parent wants their child to do well in school. Here are some ideas how you can help out during the exams…

Being a parent means you want your children to only ever experience happiness and joy, that’s why during exams it’s difficult to watch your child go through stress and difficulties.  We want to encourage you to never stop believing in your child.  Matthew L Jacobson said, “Behind every young child who believes in himself is a parent who believed first.”  Here are some great ways how you can encourage your children to perform their very best.

1. Make sure they have a healthy diet.

One of the key factors to excel in exams is to have a healthy diet. By getting enough nutrients and staying hydrated during exams will strengthen your children’s immune systems so that they don’t fall sick and they feel more energised to study longer and more efficiently.

Make sure they eat a healthy breakfast in the morning before the exam.  Remember that too much sugar for breakfast will lead to a drop in blood sugar later in the morning.  Make sure you include healthy snacks in their diet, but remember to spoil them with a little treat every now and again – a few blocks of dark chocolate does wonders for the brain to help them study again the afternoon.

2. Watch their sleep cycles.

As children get older they might not have a bedtime anymore, especially if they need to study until late in the evenings.  However, make sure your child gets enough rest the night before a big exam.  Fatigue is one of the reasons why children don’t do well in the last few exams remaining.  It is important to note that if your child has a busy week of exams, for example they write Monday, Wednesday and Friday, that they can’t stay up too late to study on Sunday evening, because they still need to be able to write on Friday.  According to LiveScience children between the ages of 6 - 13 need from 9 to 11 hours of sleep each night, while teenagers, ages 14 – 17, is recommended 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night.  

3. Carrots and sticks.

An old economic metaphor to explain how a desired outcome can be reached is by use of carrots and sticks – rewards and punishments, respectively.  The metaphor is based on the idea that a mule will either work harder when presented with a reward (carrot) or punished by means of a stick.  Time and time again it is proven that rewards will induce bigger results.

The same principle goes for your children’s exam.  Don’t threaten them with punishments if they don’t do well in an upcoming exam.  Rather inspire them to work hard by presenting a reward, like going for a milkshake after the exam.  It doesn’t always have to be a literal gift or something of monetary value, for example, tell your children that when they receive a good education they will have the ability to change lives, they could start a business, they could own a beautiful home one day, they can have a career that make their dreams come true.  Inspire your children to study because they have a wonderful opportunity to reach their greatest potential.

4. Trust them.

Always make sure your children’s mental states are taken care off.  Make sure they know you are there for them and that you will help whenever possible.  Ask questions like “What is the most interesting thing you learned today?” or “How do you think the teacher will test a certain chapter?”.  Help them think about exam situations and help them focus on what’s important through questions.

You don’t have to sit by your child 24/7 to make sure they study.  Sometimes pushing and smothering them do more harm than good.  All they need is someone that will hold them accountable, someone that will be proud of them when they study and work hard.

5. Know your child.

One of the major responsibilities of being a parent is to make sure your children is physically and mentally taken care of.  Your children’s mental health will require you to really know them.  Ask yourself, do you really know what your children’s dreams are?  When you know what your children’s dreams and desires are, it’s a lot easier to help them.  Know your children’s strengths and weaknesses, know in which subjects they feel confident and in which they struggle.  Have a copy of their exam timetable and make sure you give them an extra big hug on days you know they will be stressed.

We want to share with you a letter that a principle in Singapore sent out to the parents of all the pupils:

“Dear Parents,

The exams of your children are to start soon.  I know you are really anxious for your children to do well.  

However, please remember, amongst the students who will be writing exams, there is an artist, who doesn’t need to understand Math.  There is an entrepreneur who doesn’t care about English literature or History.  There is a musician, whose Chemistry marks won’t matter.  There is a sport star, whose physical fitness is more important than Physics.  

If your child does get top marks, that’s great!  However, if he or she doesn’t, please don’t take away their self-confidence and their dignity.  Tell them “it’s just an exam” and that they are cut out for much bigger things in life!  Tell them, no matter what marks they receive, you love them and you will not judge them.  Please do this, and when you do, watch your children conquer the world.  One exam or low mark won’t take away their dreams nor talents.

And please, do not think that doctors and engineers are the only happy people in the world.

With warm regards,
Your Principal.”

We want to wish every parent the best of luck with their children’s exams.  Look well after them, encourage them, love them and support them unconditionally.  Let us know how you help our children cope during exams and how you make them feel special when they need you most.

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