Top tips for supporting your child during exams
By Amy Wood-Mitchell
It’s that time of year again when teenagers (and scarily much younger children) are starting exams and are being pumped full of implicit and explicit messages about what will happen if they don’t work hard enough. Here are a few top tips for how to support your child at this time:
- It’s really important that your children know that their worth is not based on their exam results and there is more to them than their grades. Sure, exams can be important in life, but they do not define a person. Emphasise the importance of their other qualities and achievements, such as how helpful they are to their siblings or how well they work in a group. Success is not determined by someone’s grades, but by how well rounded a person is.
- Schedules and timetables- that mountain of revision can seem so overwhelming for a young person. Help them to devise a revision schedule that they are able to stick to and that is realistic. This will need to be tailored to your child’s needs and should incorporate breaks and fun activities and rewards. It may need to be visual and planned week to week in order to map out how much time there is for each subject. This can be hugely containing for a young person, but they may need your support to stick to it.
- Down time is so important. Teens are unlikely to revise effectively if they overwork, so be sure to help them to take breaks, see their friends and be active.
- It is important to look after your child’s physiological health- ensure they are eating well and regularly and staying hydrated. Ideally they shouldn’t be staying up late revising then getting up late in the morning- try to stick to school bedtime routines. Ensure your child is getting some time outdoors and exercising- even if only a brisk walk.
- Relaxation techniques- there are many apps and websites available to support the development of good relaxation techniques, and ideally these would be practised before stressful periods, such as exams. Try some different apps and techniques and engage in these with your child. Think of other strategies to relax, such as listening to music, watching a film, having a bath or a massage.
- Minimise other stressors in the house. Be aware of your child’s needs and go a little easier on them during stressful times. You may not want to give them their usual chores and may need to be aware of creating a more relaxing environment. Take them a cup of hot chocolate or their favourite snack!
- Don’t compare your child to others, especially not their siblings! Everyone has strengths and difficulties in different areas and comparing them to their siblings or Mrs Jones’ kids isn’t going to motivate them- it will make the feel worse! You want your children to do the best they can in life and the way to do this is to lift them up, make them feel good and let them know how proud you are.
- Above all else, make sure they know how much you love and care for them and this will not change no matter what their results! However, I’m sure most teens would agree that a little financial incentive is always good for motivation 😉
These are just some ways for how to support your teen, but if you would like to book a consultation to discuss this further please submit an enquiry. Alternatively, you may feel that your teenager would benefit from one or two sessions to help manage exam anxiety and to learn life long skills to help manage stressful situations.