Keep Calm and Carry on Listening

This week sees the start of the new term and for many that means some last-minute revision sessions for crucial exams. Whether its Common Entrance, GCSE, A level or IB, for many the next few weeks could define the next stage of their education career.

As parents who only want the best for your children, over the past months you’ve fed, watered, arranged tutoring, planned revision timetables, limited gadget and online time, even nagged at times. But now, the frightening reality is, you’ve done all you can and it’s down to them.

Here are a few tips for parents which we hope will help you to stay sane in the weeks ahead

1. Make home life as relaxed and stress-free as possible. Appear calm, though you may be turning somersaults inside.

2. Explain to siblings that their brother or sister is facing the pressure of important exams, so allowances should be made for this by the whole family.

3. Reassure, listen, praise and encourage. At this stage your child should have the tools to know what to do when it comes to revision planning and study or exam techniques. Your role should now be more one of support and encouragement.

4. If your child is on study leave, try to be at home, so you can chat during study breaks. Spending time listening to how they are getting on and what they feel they are achieving will give them the encouragement they need. These conversations will reassure you, as much as them.

5. Encourage your child to join family meals, eat healthy snacks, drink water, take plenty of exercise and sleep, to keep their brain working effectively. A change of scene away from computers and books will refresh the mind and give the eyes a rest.

6. Encourage your child to get a good night’s sleep before each exam day, instead of burning the midnight oil.

7. No matter how frustrated and irritated you are, try to avoid too much nagging. Arguments will be counter-productive, taking focus away from effective revision by raising stress levels – both yours and theirs.

8. Give them a reason to do well by explaining the benefits of access to the next stage of their education.

9. Aim to encourage them to work hard because they will enjoy the consequences on results day.

10. Let them know that you are letting them to take responsibility for their own choices, as well as the outcomes.

11. Be wary that incentives such as paying cash per exam can give the wrong impression. Ideally you want them to put in the work because they understand the personal benefits that good results will bring.

12. Plan an experience to look forward to when all the hard work is over. A family holiday, special meal, end of exams get-together. Something you know your child will enjoy as a reward for putting in the hard graft.

13. Show interest, praise and let them know how proud you are of their achievements.

14. Focus on the positives.