The final exam is an exciting period for every child. Nerves, insecurity, stress and many other feelings come together just before the final exams. As a parent, you, of course, want the best for your child. You hope and trust that your child will pass the exams independently. But at the same time, you also want to be there for mental support. In this article, I have listed the 12 most important tips and answers to frequently asked questions. I hope that these study tips for your child will contribute in supporting them in the exam period!
12 tips for parents
Every child is different. With a smart, independent or diligent child at home, confidence in the chance of success is likely to be higher than when he/she is not a high flyer. The study motivation also puts that chance of success under pressure. Depending on the results of the school exams, your child will enter the final exams in a relaxed or tense way. With all these different variables, we can divide exam candidates into four groups:
Group 1: My child is very relaxed and has to do strange things if he/she drops.
Group 2: My child is stressed, but he is in good shape and has no cause for stress.
Group 3: My child is very / too relaxed, but still has to work hard to succeed.
Group 4: My child is stressed and has to work hard to succeed.
In all cases, you want to assist your child as well as possible and create an optimal home environment. With group 1 that will be minimal, but especially in group 2–4 (ascending), you will have to offer extra support as a parent. When your child is stressed or too lax during the exam period, it requires a lot of patience from you as a parent to make the best of it. How do you remain the stable driving factor that your child can rely on?
We have listed the best tips for parents. We will always approach each tip from the perspective of all groups.
1. The success rates are to your advantage
If we look at the statistics on the chances of success, the figures are happy to help. Nationally, 9 out of 10 children obtain their secondary education certificate in one go. The success rates differ per level.
Naturally, statistics at the national level say nothing about your child’s individual performance. But, in a positive case, optimistic children can just get an extra boost if things go wrong for a day. This works well with group 1 and usually also with group 2.
However, pay attention to group 3 (stressed and in poor condition). With this group, the success rates can contribute to additional uncertainty. For example: “ I am a huge failure if I do not belong to the large group of graduates “. Is your child in a pessimistic mood just before the exams? Then encouraging words about success rates will make little impression.
Also in group 4, it is better to omit this tip. Emphasizing that the success rates are high does not encourage you to start learning. It only reinforces the lax attitude.
2. Be calm, embrace calmness and smile
Staying calm is rule number 1. This is easier said than done because even if your child is relaxed and has no nerves, it can happen that you yourself become more restless during the exams. However, it is important to realize that your behavior can reinforce or weaken your child’s behavior.
If your child is already very nervous and you are, then your nervousness only reinforces this feeling. When you are calm and relaxed, your nervous child can relax more. Certainly, in groups 2 and 3, where stress and tension are an important problem, it helps to keep the atmosphere at home positive and relaxed. Does the house feel tense, or do you notice as a parent that the tension increases (with yourself, with your child, or with both)? Then seek relaxation. Name the excitement and propose to do something fun together. Try to bring the balance back. Put a smile on and find your peace.
With group 4 (lax, with poor results) it is also important to stay calm and put on a smile. Getting angry and getting stressed because your child cannot be motivated only causes frustration. Try to stay calm here and start the conversation.
3. The B of balance
The key to success is a balance . It is not good for your child to be constantly learning, reading and talking about the final exams. Just when the brain is not busy with the study, the brain processes all the difficult material. That is why it is important to encourage your child to take enough time for fun things. Sport, music, and laughter all contribute to a healthy lifestyle, also during the final exams.
For groups 2 and 3, this tip can be used precisely. Provide distraction so that the stress drops. In addition, try to look for the balance in group 3 in particular. Motivate to learn extra, but also add extra fun activities. Taking away fun activities to make more room for extra study time often has the opposite effect. With group 4, however, it is wise to make more room for study, at the expense of fun activities. However, balance is also the magic word here.
4. Show understanding
Every child deals with stress differently during the exams. It is of course not nice when you are dealing with a moody or hot child. Then remember that this period will also pass. A frequently heard comment from parents is that the weeks of the central exams have flown by. The stress is therefore temporary. Perhaps this thought helps you put things into perspective. The most important thing is that you show understanding for your child. Listen when he/she wants to talk. Come with advice where needed. The feeling that your child is not alone can make the difference between succeeding and failing.
Understanding is important for all groups. Even in group 1, where your child is in good shape and does not experience any stress, it is sometimes good to name this. After all, you don’t want to appear uninterested.
5. Create a positive atmosphere and environment
A positive atmosphere and environment stimulate a child. It is advisable to emphasize positive points every day. Positivity is contagious and is good for your child’s mood. For group 2, for example, regularly emphasize preparation and good grades. Make it a little smaller for groups 3 and 4 and emphasize every good figure. Or emphasize when your child has been learning well.
Also, try to organize the learning environment in a positive way. For example, put up a list with important goals. Or with positive points. Put flowers in the house. Provide a fresh house. Open the curtains and windows. Let the sunlight in. Create a study place without distractions. Make sure the house is tidy. As a parent, you have to do all this yourself. You can put your child to work to clear things up. Then he/she is immediately distracted from the exams. You can kill two birds with one stone (clean up the room and put your mind in a row).
6. Ensure a healthy diet
Eating well and regularly has a positive influence on the stress level of your child. It can help a lot if you make sure that your child does take enough breaks while studying. If you ensure that you and your child eat three healthy meals and that your child also takes a few snacks, you ensure that the body has constant enough fuel to learn well.
Pay extra attention to what is being drunk. Stay away from too many sugary or caffeinated drinks. Sure, Red Bull ‘gives you wings’. But they are very short-lived. As soon as the sugar and caffeine are exhausted, emptiness and tiredness remain. And those are not good conditions for a solid study. Let your child drink tea or water to stay in balance.
7. Surprise your child
Small attentions of appreciation make your child feel that you are really there for him or her. For example, put a sweet card or photo between the textbook. Bring something tasty when your child does not expect it. Or put a fragrant lavender plant on the desk. Every child likes to be loved and occasionally spoiled by his or her parents. Small attentions can create a positive vibe in all groups. It helps to counteract the stress or to confirm that it is going well.
8. Don’t overdo it
However, make sure that your child is not pampered too much. Don’t exaggerate. It is also not intended that you should treat him or her as a sick child that needs extra pampering. Taking exams is exciting, but by no means gives a license for your child to forsake all daily chores and other responsibilities.
As stated in previous tips, it’s all about balance. Studying versus fun / other activities. Those other activities may just as well be the daily chores and responsibilities. These too distract from the exams. Show that the world just keeps on turning, even during the exam period. This puts the exams and possible exam stress in perspective.
9. Ensure a good night’s sleep
Lack of sleep has a negative impact on the body and mind. You have probably also experienced this yourself. Make sure your child gets enough sleep and goes to bed at the same time every day. It is precisely this structure that is good for body and soul. You always start the day at the same time. This ensures that your child can make the final exam optimally. A good night’s sleep contributes to a fit and cheerful start to the day. Moreover, sleep is really necessary to properly process the test material and store it in memory.
Conversely, too much sleep is not good either. Here you are usually no longer equipped by. Rather, it leads to a slow feeling throughout the day. Young people between 16–18 need on average between 8 and 9 hours of sleep per night.
10. Don’t criticize your child
We can imagine that you sometimes find it difficult if you have a child who cannot be moved forward and would prefer to spend the day in bed with the phone and Netflix. However, it makes no sense to blame your child during the exam period that cannot be resolved. Comments that start with “ if only you had “ or “ I told you anyway “ only work as stress-increasing and demotivating. By doing the opposite and complimenting your child, your child can positively surprise you in this important period. This is an important point of attention, especially in group 4.
11. Don’t argue
In the period around the final exams, a fight over the least slight can occur. Perhaps you sometimes want to stick your child behind the wallpaper. Yet it is important not to let irritations escalate into major arguments. Communication is very important in this stressful time. A fight makes it very difficult to be able to talk to each other well.
Remember that it is probably the stress that makes the atmosphere tense. In group 4 in particular, it is important to continue to look for communication in this context. Look for ways to study together. Do not argue that he/she is not doing enough.
12. Discuss what kind of help your child needs
Your child often knows best how it goes with learning and whether extra help or guidance is needed. Perhaps your child would like to go through certain subject matter together. Or maybe your child likes it if you occasionally help him or her to hear it. It could also be that your child benefits from making a plan together. Or that he/she wants to be reminded of the planning. Many children normally state that they do not need help. But this is different for the final exams. The final exams are a very serious matter. It is at that very moment that children suddenly want to use all means to succeed. So if you think he/she doesn’t want my help, just ask! It helps to see together with your child to what extent he/she needs extra guidance or aids.
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