Schoolwork in general and particularly at exam times can prove stressful for children. Therefore the better the working environment you can provide at home, the easier it will be to encourage them to study, whilst also maintaining a healthy balance between work and relaxation time.
Consider implementing any or all of the following ideas for your teenagers.
When exams are approaching children can often waste valuable time not being clear on what it is best to revise. The more structured the study period leading up to exams, the better they are likely to perform. This can be in terms of content, so a short revision course can be helpful, or in terms of a timetable.
Once your child has established what parts of the curriculum they need to focus on during revision time, help them to create a realistic revision timetable. This should include fixed times when they will need to concentrate on study, but also a mixture of short and long breaks to keep them alert.
Dedicated Working Space
Children work best if they have a dedicated space in which to study. This needs to be free from noise and in a place where you can keep an eye on whether they are working. Modular desks built under beds are a great space saving idea, but it’s not always easy to make sure your kids are hard at work when they are tucked away in their bedroom. If possible, dedicate a corner of a room as a study area away from other distractions like the television, mobile phones and tablets.
This brings us to time spent on the computer. While your child will probably need to access the internet for study, it does leave the door open for them to get sucked into the world of Facebook when they are supposed to be working.
Social media can prove a big distraction but there are apps you can use which block access to certain sites for a time. However, this could be a step too far and you may prefer to work on the honour system, where you trust that your child is working diligently. Only you can recognize if this is feasible for your teenager or whether they need a little help with focusing solely on work.
We have talked about a structured working environment and time restrictions on gadgets. However, it’s equally important to let your child have some downtime too. Time spent relaxing on a comfortable sofa, with the opportunity to play console games, watch TV or text friends, is more likely to help them to focus better when they do need to return to work. It’s also a time to de-stress and realise that there is life outside of schoolwork, particularly important if your child is a big worrier around exams.
When your child is studying hard it’s crucial to check they are eating properly and getting enough sleep. Give them free access to healthy snacks, but ones which they also enjoy. Try to limit the amount of caffeinated drinks they have as this can lead to a cycle of anxiety and sleeplessness. Whilst you can’t always control what your teenager eats all the time, at least provide nutritious meals while they are at home and then the fast food they grab when they are out and about will be more of an occasional treat.
Sleep is also important so make sure that your child isn’t burning the midnight oil and staying up to all hours to study. They will also sleep better if they exercise so encourage them to at least take a walk, go for a bike ride or enjoy a swim.
Finally if you can fit in a family outing at the weekend this can help your kids to take their minds off the worry of study. Those few hours away from revision can be a great way to de-stress and to bring you all together as a family.