I was back in school this week following the Easter holidays and the change in atmosphere was very noticeable. There was more tension and lots of stressed students with worry etched all over their faces. It was very obvious that GCSEs are not far away.
As a coach and a parent with a daughter about to do her GCSEs, I have personal experience of the increased anxiety and tension that studying for exams brings to a teenagers life. I decided to do a little exercise this week and find out what parents can do to relieve some of the pressure before and during the exams. I asked my students what could parents do to make life easier around their exams and this is what I was told:
- It is good to be able to ask parents to participate in revision. This may consist of testing them on their knowledge, helping them with flash cards/notes/post its around the house
- Be interested in what they are doing and let them just talk to you about whatever subject they are revising regardless of whether you know the topic or not
- Be considerate of their revision timetable and don’t arrange social commitments with family and friends or spring things on them at the last minute. Early communication of anything that will affect them means they can schedule time in for it or make necessary changes and avoid extra pressure.
- Do not interrupt revision sessions if their door is closed
- Have consideration of which room they are in and be mindful of them with regards to hoovering, tidying etc
- Keep the cupboards stocked up with favourite treats to enjoy on their revision breaks
- Encourage them to take regular breaks and to drink plenty of fluids
- Make their favourite suppers
- Keep calm, cut them a bit more slack than normal and avoid arguments
- Allow them to have friends over to chill and relax when they are not studying
- Encourage them to continue with hobbies to break up long revision sessions and give their brains a rest
- Ease off on their home chores
- Be supportive and suggest things to help them
- Encourage them to look after themselves, reasonable bedtimes, eat well and keep exercising
- Be around just to listen to them whether it be about their progress or concerns. Let them communicate how they feel
I have learn’t a great deal this week about teenagers and their approach to studying for their GCSE’s. Taking the above points into account, I will certainly be taking action to make my daughter’s exam journey as smooth as possible.
The main thing to remember is ‘be supportive and allow them to do what works for them’.