As exam time approaches, are you worrying that your children aren’t actually doing enough revision and seem to lack concentration? Or are their stress levels giving you cause for concern? Then do not panic, you are not alone. During the run up to exams there will be thousands of other parents that are having exactly the same anxieties, but there are ways that you can help manage the stress of the exam revision process.
Steve Roe, Head Teacher at Fleetwood Sports College in Lancashire, has been a teacher for over 25 years. “Over the last few years more and more parents have come to me for advice on how they can give their child the best head start in the lead-up to exams, without constantly hovering over them. To maximise your child’s potential there are many little ways that you can help aid concentration and learning – from small lifestyle changes that help boost brain power to study tricks that help them learn more without working harder.”
Steve has a number of tips to offer parents as the revision period approaches:
Sometimes less is more
Don’t let kids go mad and lock themselves away with the books 24 hours a day – ensure that their study plan allows for travel, periods of relaxation, eating and a decent night’s sleep. Two to three hours is the maximum amount of time that teens can study before needing a longer break of perhaps an hour. Blocks of 30 minutes with 5 minute breaks work well within the 2 – 3 hour blocks.
Avoid the fear of the new
Instead of taxing their brains with a brand new topic every study session, encourage your teenager to spend the last five minutes of the day familiarising themselves with what’s coming up tomorrow. It’s much easier to start a new topic if you already recognise the fundamentals.
Give them food for thought
Think of your child as an athlete in training for the Olympics. Keep a constant supply of fruit and veg in stock to ward off bugs and give them an Omega 3 fish-oil supplement such as Haliborange Omega-3 TeenSense to maximise concentration, with the odd treat to reward hard work.
Exams are all about showing understanding, so once your child has finished revising a topic, ask them to teach it to you. This will build their confidence and ensure that they really know their stuff. Encourage them to practice on the next best thing while you’re not around – a sibling, a pet, even a poster of their favourite pop star will do!
Ever wondered why fun-loving boys never do as badly as their stressed-out female counterparts might hope? That’s because they incorporate relaxing activities into their schedule, so if your child is getting worked-up ensure that they go for a half hour walk, take time to make a tasty lunch or go for a short run. Stretching exercises can help lower their general anxiety, especially if done on a regular basis.
Good sleep is vital
Exam stress sometimes makes sleeping difficult. So, set a definite time to go to bed and make sure they stick to it. A period of gentle music, a light snack or a glass of milk and a warm bath will help aid relaxation before bed.
Don’t let them panic
Keeping busy when they’re not studying stops kids dwelling on exam worries – so encourage sport and other activities, such as dancing, art and cooking. As a parent, you can really help by boosting confidence, so remind them of past achievements and that there are thousands of kids feeling exactly the same as them.
Find out your child’s target grades for each subject. From these offer incentive rewards for their achievement with a bonus for achievement beyond their expected target. Rewards can and should include activities your child will benefit from eg. Sports centre passes, activity weekends like a spa treatment or white water rafting.