Eat. Sleep. Revise. Repeat
With summer examinations fast approaching, we know that many parents/guardians also feel the pressure. Here are our top tips for parents on how to help young learners during exam season.
Young learners need to understand and believe how much of a difference revision will make. From you, encouragement is key. Learners will need support to stick at it, even if it seems too difficult, or they become disheartened.
Help your learner to focus on how much they've covered so far, rather than how much they have left to go. Remind them how shorter revision bursts are more effective than long-lasting periods or 'cramming' sessions.
Make revision as easy as possible by ensuring that they have all necessary equipment e.g. pens, pencils, a calculator, a watch etc.
The period of revision and exams can feel highly pressured for everyone involved, so it's vital that you try and create a calm and pleasant home environment.
Ensure that your learner has somewhere quiet to revise so that they are able to focus without distractions. Often the best way to support their revision is by giving them space and time to do so. It also helps if other family members are aware of exam pressures and their importance.
A balanced diet is essential for a young learner's health. Continuous studying and intensive brain activity require the vitamins and nutrients found in healthy foods (such as fruit, vegetables and fish) to work effectively.
When planning meals, avoid processed foods - these contain high levels of salt, sugar, and bad fats, which aren't good for your learner's energy levels. Keep the fruit bowl well stocked and their junk-food cravings at bay. Need some healthy snack inspiration? Take a look at this 'brain food' list: 11 Best Foods to Boost Your Brain and Memory
Young learners should be steered away from fizzy drinks, and high levels of caffeine, and be encouraged to drink 8 glasses of water a day – studies show that staying hydrated raises concentration levels.
Stages of sleep
With exams on the horizon, young learners might be tempted to cut back on their sleep to pump more hours into revision. Remind your learner that getting enough sleep is essential for successful revision. Studies have shown how a good night’s sleep helps improve memory, concentration levels and brainpower the next day.
If your learner is having trouble sleeping, suggest a deep breathing exercise. There are so many different techniques and a wealth of advice available. The NHS, for example, offers some useful relaxation techniques.
Exercise and endorphins
Getting some fresh air and exercise is extremely important during exam season. Exercise helps to oxygenate the brain and release pressure. Encourage regular exercise, even if that means walking to school instead of driving or taking the bus.
Reap the reward
For the next couple of months, exams are the priority, but it is important not to lose sight of reality. Acknowledging hard work plays an important part in motivating young learners. Create a schedule with your learner, with specific timeslots dedicated to both revision and free time.
Enjoy quality time together as a family but also encourage the learner to spend time with friends and doing things that are important to them.