REMAIN CALM & SUPPORTIVE
This may sound easy but we all know it is far from easy! Try to remember it’s not you, it’s them sitting the exams. It is perfectly normal for parents to be worried for their child coming up to exams.
The best way you can support your child is to remain calm. If you remain calm, you have a much better chance of keeping your home calm, hence a better environment for your child to relax/study/wind down during thier exams.
Try to remember your experiences with exams may not be at all similar to your child’s experience. Do not transfer your feelings onto them.
Leave the room when necessary to calm yourself, walk around the house, breath deeply,
whatever it takes, just stay CALM & SUPPORTIVE
start their day with a healthy breakfast to set them up – exams use up a huge amount of energy
offer to go for a walk with them if you think they may need a break/chat
make their favourite foods
have healthy snacks available
keep the smaller children out of their way (arrange playdates if necessary)
let them know you are there if they need you
leave little treats in their room (quietly supporting them)
keep regular sleep patterns (even if others are on Summer holidays) if they are having trouble sleeping, suggest a bath/shower followed by pjs with hot chocolate, relaxing tv programme – help them to come down from the study mode
leave quotes on their wall – visual quotes really appeal to this age group, you don’t have to say anything, the quote says it for you.
Different things appeal to different kids, you know your own child – all they really want is to know you are there for them, you trust them, you believe in them. Communication may become very tense (that is normal), just remember you are the adult here, you are not sitting the exams – stay calm, do not react. It really does work.
LOOK AFTER YOURSELF
Get out for a walk, meet a friend, whatever you do to relax it is very important you do it during exams. You need to help and support yourself so that you are in a good place to help and support your child.
The Junior and/or Leaving Cert is not the most defining thing in your child’s life. Your child is not defined by these results – some children are more academic than others.
Academia is one aspect of your childs life, they also have to be sociable, trustworthy, positive, confident, strong, have strong values, have a good personality, believe in themselves (to name a few) – all of these things are just as important.
Recognise the strengths and weaknesses of your child. Don’t put too much pressure on them to achieve what they may not be able to achieve – this will have huge negative consequences.
Encourage them to do their best – not your best, their cousins best, their neighbours best, DONT COMPARE THEM TO ANYONE ELSE, their best is good enough. They need to be very clear on that – comparing children to others can be very damaging. Very often children will automatically compare themselves or put pressure on themselves to achieve the same as an older sibling, cousin, friend – let them know everyone has their own qualities. It is very important that they know you understand what their qualities are, that you do not expect more than they are capable of. I come across so many kids who feel their parents expect more than they can achieve.
“Why compare yourself with others? No one in the entire world can do a better job of being you than you.”
“Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.”
“Believing in yourself, is an endless destination – believing you have failed, is the end of your journey.”