Getting our children to study is difficult at the best of times but with the weather being as nice as it is lately and the excitement of summer right around the corner, studying seems to be the last thing on teenagers’ minds.
As the end of the school year is fast approaching, we’re trying to help our children prepare for their exams before they are free for the summer, but with so many distractions in their lives, teens would much rather be on their phones or outside in the sunshine.
If you’re in the same boat and are struggling to get your child to sit down and study, whether it be for their summer tests, Junior Cert or Leaving Cert, we’re sharing some of our top tips to encourage children to concentrate on their revision.
Check them out below and get your child exam-ready!
Have a one-on-one chat with your child to see what subjects they’re confident in, what topics they struggle with and what they are worried about in general when it comes to their exams. Shouting at them to simply sit down and study won’t work and will make them less likely to express their concerns with you and make them feel too overwhelmed to revise. If there is a certain amount of time you’d like them to study for and they have something not study-related that they’d like to do, talk about it and come to a conclusion through an open discussion rather than a screaming match.
Make it fun
In reality, there are few people who actually enjoy studying unless they are working towards something very important to them. Although final exams like the Leaving Cert are important in order to receive points for college, this isn’t always enough of a motivation for some teens. Instead of simply reminding them that they’re studying to help them get into college, add some fun into study time. You don’t have to buy them a treat for every hour of study they do but if they've shown real incentive to get work done on their own initiative or have been spending hours cooped up in their room while revising, offer to cook them their favourite dinner that you can eat together on the couch in front of a film, or give them a hand with their oral exams which is sure to make you both giggle if you don’t really know the language yourself.
Shouting at your child to do their schoolwork instead of having a conversation is a surefire way of making them not want to study even more. Keep a level head if you’re trying to help them with a maths problem they're not understanding and don’t resort to anger if your teenager is acting out of character or is snappy. Even if they don’t admit they’re worried, they most likely are stressed and anxious about these important tests and are taking it out on those around them.
You and your child should make a list of subjects they want to study and create a schedule they can work on daily. Make goals for each day of revision, as well as bigger weekly and monthly goals. Instead of just writing ‘Study French for 4 hours this week’, change it to ‘Learn off French diary entry examples’ or ‘Be confident with future tense spellings’. Making achievable and constant goals is motivating and encouraging for a child to see as they feel like they are getting somewhere each time a goal is reached.
Whether you have multiple children sitting the same exam, an older sibling who sat their state exams in recent years or you know a neighbour's child who is in the same year as your child, don’t compare them to other people. You may think it's encouraging to remind your child they’re older sister passed all her exams with flying colours because she studied for six hours after school every day, but this can deter your child from wanting to study for fear of disappointing you or worry that you’ll tell others how good or bad they did in their exams once they sit them because you're talking about others to them.
Remind them of the ‘why’
We all know ‘why' they’re sitting their exams- because they simply have to- but really talk to your child about why they specifically should be putting in the hard work now for their future. Maybe it’s so they can get enough points to go to college and become a teacher, maybe it’s so they have options in a year from now after they travel for a few months after graduating, or maybe it’s so they can have the stepping stone in order to follow their career dreams outside of going to university. Whatever their ‘why’ is, remind them of it and reassure them that studying and the stress that goes along with it isn’t going to be forever, but their ‘why’ could be if they put the effort in now.