2016 Feb 29
Parenting with Joanne
As the school calendar rolls into exam time, it is not uncommon for parents and children to feel some amount of pressure at home. Often, it is only at this time, that we begin to notice our children studying or may I say cramming. Here are five points that could help reduce the tension at home during exams and help you focus on what is important.
Start early – it’s never harmful to encourage our children to start preparing for exams as early as possible. Having been a teacher myself, I strongly feel that it is the daily revision during term time that actually helps a child do well and stay relaxed during exams in school. Learning theorists believe that elaborative rehearsal (revising meaningfully), gives better recall than maintenance rehearsal (cramming). In saying this, I stress the importance of encouraging daily revision from a very early age.
Focus on challenging areas – Every child has certain subject areas that seem more challenging than others. It is mandatory that we as parents are able to identify these challenging areas in our children’s academic skills. It is not merely the role of the teacher or the school to help your child in these areas. If your child has a difficulty in spelling, why not focus on this area from the get go? By doing this, you help your child gain confidence in his academics, especially while answering an exam paper.
Encourage smart studying – When exam time draws close, it’s better for our children to study ‘smart’ that to study ‘all’. Studying smart would mean that your child is able to identify key areas of particular subjects and revise them thoroughly instead of going through all the areas just before exams. A useful help at times like these, is past papers. Past examination papers will allow you and your child to identify questions that have been frequently asked and thus focus more on them. Studying smart does not always guarantee better grades, but it does take some pressure off exam days.
Do not add to the pressure – Telling your child that he has to get above a certain mark in order for you to be happy, is really the wrong approach during exams. Focus should be on effort instead of marks alone. By encouraging your child to focus on doing his best, you not only avoid adding unwanted pressure, but also encourage your child to focus on what’s most important; effort.
Do not take away their glory – “If you get an A in Math, I will buy you an iPad”, “If you do well in all your exams this time, I will take you to Singapore”.
While reinforcements by way of rewards are good to a certain extent, when the reward itself takes away the glory of their personal achievement, it should be questioned. When hard work pays off, the grade or mark alone should be a reward. By bringing in fancy rewards, we as parents drive the focus away from their personal success and make that moment about us, which is not helpful. If we could instead help our children to bask in their own personal achievements, we are teaching them a good life lesson in return.
Joanne Sathyadass has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Journalism, Psychology and English Literature from the University of Bangalore now serving as a Special Needs Educator
For any queries please email Joanne on firstname.lastname@example.org