The Junior and Leaving Cert can mean only one thing in households across the country, mood swings, sleepless nights and nervous biting of fingers, for both children and parents alike!
If you have a child studying for either set of exams, it’s the job of their parents to stay calm, composed and supportive.It can be a difficult time for parents as well. Watching your children overworked and stressed out can be tough but the best thing you can do for them is offer encouragement. Good parenting is an essential part of your child succeeding.
Here are our tips to help support your child:
Be there for your child
It may seem a little obvious but you can help your children by simply being around and available during exam time. Your teenager may not thank you for being there but trust us, it will help to know that you support them. If your child is off during the lead up to the exams, it's advisable to be there as much as possible.
Emphasise the importance of good timing
Exams should be treated like a race rather than a sprint and students should be encouraged to pace themselves throughout.
It’s not advisable to stay up the night before the exams, revising and cramming. Being well rested and prepared is far more important.
Get a copy of the exam time-table
It’s not unheard of for students to mix up times or even dates of exams. As a parent, you should discreetly get a copy of the exam timetable and make sure that your child hasn’t mixed up any vital information.
Try to be patient and tolerant
During any stressful time, it's understandable that at some point a student might blow a fuse.
If they snap at you, it may be a good idea to take a few deep breaths and just leave them to calm down. Just this once, it may be ok to tolerate a little moodiness and bad behaviour.
Keep secret supplies
It’s a good idea to stock up on some basic essentials, a spare calculator, plenty of pens or refill pads so that your child has everything they need. Students can become frustrated if they need something but can’t find it.
Remain calm-for their sake
It’s important for you as the parent to take a step back and remain calm. Having a stressed out parent is the last thing your already stressed child needs! If you relax, they will be less apprehensive about the exams.
Don't think about the exams once they're done. The chances are you won’t be able to tell them whether they were wrong or right and more importantly, the exam is over and they have done their best. Encourage them to focus on the next exam instead.
Encourage rest and recreation
You should encourage your child to take regular breaks while studying. Every few hours they should get out, get some fresh air and go for a walk.A walk will help them relax and will improve concentration.
You should also emphasise the importance of regular sleep. In fact, recent studies suggest that students who went to sleep an average of 40 minutes later than other students, got lower grades.
Act as their personal chauffeur
Providing your child with a lift to and from exams will give them one less thing to worry about. You don’t want to upset their routine any further by suggesting they get a lift or the bus to their exams. Knowing that they will be there in plenty of time is just one less thing for them to worry about.
Look after their health
Students who have health problems should be encouraged to take extra care of themselves around exam time. Hay fever sufferers should be alert to conditions that could bring on the symptoms and asthmatics should always carry an inhaler with them.