Exams during childhood are a necessary evil. They are the only substantial way of assessing whether your child is progressing in a positive manner at school. I hate exams. I hated them when I was a child and my passion for them has not warmed as an adult.
The irony in this situation is that I am now faced with going through the tedious rounds of revising an excruciating four times, with four children at home. Life is cruel. But as parents we must not quiver in the face of adversement and especially not in the eyes of our children. Our children need us to be positive and determined, but the biggest battle is getting them to actually sit down and study.
When I innocently ask my nine year old ‘If she has started to study’ I am faced with a barrage of insolent behavior, this is very hard to digest since every pore in my body is wanting to fling the books out the window and go for a swim instead. We cannot runaway from our problems.
Early bird gets the worm: We all know that end of the year exams are looming so start revision early. Even if it is a month in advance get your child to revise maybe for even an hour a day. Last minute studying is more stressful than helpful and especially not advisable for younger children. If you start the studying process early, you can approach it in a more positive manner than at the umpteenth minute when you are both stressful and tempers and timeouts will fly high.
Study style: Each child has their own different way of studying and revising. My daughter will make copious amounts of notes whilst my son is quite happy reading the text and learning directly. Figure out a style that suits your child and encourage them to follow it.
Devise a study schedule and display it in a prominent place: In this way the whole family is aware of what needs to be done when. Thus they can also not embark on distractions such as having the T.V on or inviting friends over, especially when we know members of the family are studying. At times like these it has to be a family effort and we should all rally around.
Turn off the Tech: The T.V, computer games and mobiles are all successfully modes of distraction which should be either taken away or limited is use. Children nowadays are quite tech savvy and spend most of their hours on these devices, taking them away will free up amply time to study.
Everyone loves a treat, whether young or old: A good way to encourage your child to study is to promise a treat at the end of it. Half an hour of T.V, slice of cake or a read of their favorite book are all great treats to jog the reluctant studying child along.
Just because it is exam time, do not restrict other extracurricular activities your children like to do: Let them go for a swim or to their art class or piano session. These activities allow your child to destress and take away some of the exam worry. They come rejuvenated for another intense session. Of course choose your pastimes wisely, half a day spent playing cricket is not an intelligent use of time, however relaxing.
Make sure your child is eating adequately and getting plenty of rest: Burning the candle on both ends is not a great way to prepare for exams especially when you are small children. A good night sleep and an healthy diet provide them with the necessary ammunition to face their exams.
Exam period is a trying time for the whole family. We want our children to do well and work ourselves up into a panic when we feel that they are not putting in the required effort. The worst you can do is to get stressed about the situation and cause a war zone at home. Children are children and those that study on their own are rare gems.
As parents we have to keep our cool and successfully persuade the playful child. It is easier said than done, but that is why we are the parents, we can work wonders. Happy revising!
By Mayuri Jayasinghe