We’re officially in the Christmas season and most children are excited for the end of the school term. Three weeks at home! Yay! But, before those three weeks of holiday fun begin most students will have to endure the dreaded feat of studying for and passing their end-of-term examinations. And, of course, there are the ones who have to prepare for major exams next year, like the S.E.A, C.S.E.C. and C.A.P.E. exams, which are high-pressure and high-intensity events for parents and kids.
How do you render assistance in these trying times to your stressed-out offspring? Here are five guiding principles to help you, and them, manage.
Talk to their teacher(s) whenever possible.
This is more for parents who don’t have open communication with their children. However, it is still a useful practice even if your child volunteers information about their school life. Teachers can give insight into matters that a child might not think are worth sharing with their parents. All of this is not done in the vein of spying or being underhanded, it is simply for the purpose of obtaining information that can be used to figure out what actions you must take to ensure your child’s success. You can better understand what your child is going through if you know more than one side of the story.
Let them know that their exam results will not be a measure of their future success in life.
A major factor that contributes to the stress levels of students is the fear that their entire life depends on how they perform in exams. As we know, education is important and having good grades is important. But, your child might not understand that this is not the only available path to success. Encourage them to do well but remind them that the world will not end if they fail. They can simply re-try or try something else. There are endless possibilities and just because you’re not good at one thing it does not eliminate opportunities to excel in other areas.
Encourage them to have a balance between work and play.
Few children appreciate the importance of having a balanced life. There are those who strive to be as studious as possible and feel guilty over any moment of leisure. And there are the lackadaisical ones, who just lounge around with no aim and fret over any moment of productivity. Of course, these are the extreme cases. But it’s hard for most young minds to start work after play. As the adult you have to introduce the concept of setting timetables and sticking
to prescribed schedules. Explain to them that they are allowed to have fun but work is important. Show them how their time can be managed to accommodate these seemingly incompatible activities.
Be mindful of your child’s emotions.
Your child’s demeanour and attitude should guide your behaviour when it comes to providing suitable support. Some students may be individual operators, who prefer to mentally motivate themselves and study alone. You should be able to gauge if your child is this type and just stick to monitoring from the sidelines, making sure they have everything they need without being overbearing. Other students are not so independent and might need external motivators or confidence builders. Whatever your child indicates they might need (either verbally or through some other cue), be ready to adapt and cater to their specific needs.
Parents, listen, if you are stressed out your child will be stressed out. Even if you can’t contain yourself do not let your child see that you are freaking out! Go hide in your bedroom and calm yourself down until you can put on a composed facade in front of your impressionable child again. Remember, you are in control so act like it. Of course, this does not mean to act completely disinterested in their education. It just means to be measured and rational when communicating with your child. Do not project your own fears and insecurities onto them.
We wish your child all the success hard work and determination brings.