When exam time rolls around, children are under immense pressure. Whether it’s worrying about outcomes that impact their future or meeting expectations (their own or of others), it can be very difficult for children to keep their spirits and motivation high. Here is where family support, be it through encouragement or actual study help, can be a real blessing. In your child’s most stressful moments, support from the ones who they trust and love can be incredibly reassuring.
Step 1: Be there for your child Active support
With children below 12, parents can actively contribute by participating in the study process: drawing up study time tables and administering short quizzes and tests. These, and other techniques in the Box aside, will help the child ascertain his understanding of the subject matter and bolster his confidence.
Older children may not need (or want!) a parent’s active involvement during exams. However, you certainly need to be available — either to clarify doubts and queries, or to just be the listening post or stress buster.
So, whatever be the age of your child, at least one parent should try to come home early from work and minimise travel. If travel is unavoidable, use phone calls and Skype to provide both active and passive support.
Step 2: Get big decisions out of the way
Late night vs. Early morning studying
While some children prefer to get studying out of the way at night to avoid the tension they may have to go through in the morning, others find that their focus starts to wane as the evening progresses and prefer to work with a clearer frame of mind in the mornings. Allow your child to follow his rhythm instead of forcing your own ‘owl’ or ‘lark’ habits on your child. Ensure, however, that he gets sufficient sleep — at least seven hours of sleep for children under 13 years, and at least six hours of sleep for teens.
Revision techniques to try with your child
- Languages: Make vocabulary lists and flashcards
- Spelling: Use dictation or a quick game of Hangman
- Chemistry: Use mnemonics (for elements in the periodic table, for example)
- Geography: Set to song the points to be memorised (for instance, a rap song on the types of soils in India)
- Biology: Keep count of the number of labels for each diagram to track annotations.
- Physics and Maths: Write formulae on Post-It notes and stick them on bathroom mirrors or wardrobe doors
- History: Use alpha-numeric codes for dates and events – WW2-39-45 for World War II