How can parents help their kids in preparation for exams?
Parents play the most important role in shaping their child’s future. One aspect of the endeavor is helping the child realize his or her potential. For most, an entrance examination, be it for any stream, is not a friend. It is most commonly a war that needs to be fought with the weapon of knowledge. To this end, parents want their children to be equipped to their teeth. There is a plethora of classes that provide dedicated training to cater to particular exams. But is enrolling a student in such a class enough? How can a parent help their child prepare for entrances?
To optimize the preparation for exams, parents go through nearly as much stress and anxiety as their child. The help ranges from simply providing resources, to keeping a vigilant look out for unhealthy study habits and beyond.
Firstly, the most obvious and relatively simple thing that can be done is—providing good resources and study material. Standard books and maybe audiovisual resources (YouTube, NPTEL lectures, etc.) will help the child understand hard concepts that he or she might not have been able to follow at school. This type of learning can be done at a self-determined pace and is less stressful. A good, comfortable chair and study table can go a long way in terms of comfort and health. A student does spend a lot of time sitting down. But remember that the exam is not the child’s entire life. Recreation is equally essential and healthy.
Support and Stress Management
A child’s preparation for exams is a stressful process. With large portions to cover and concepts to comprehend, it sometimes pulls the student into a downward spiral of brain drain and anxiety. The parents play a very important role here because the only people who can understand this is either the parent or the teacher. In most cases, when the student is preparing at home, it would be very helpful for the student if his or her parents kept a tab on the state of mind. One of the main reasons for stress is a comparison with peers and not meeting expectations. A supportive and forgiving parent can make a huge difference in the life and outlook of their child.
Keeping Options Open
It is good to be focused on one task but sometimes this can take a bad turn if that one crucial examination falls through. Sometimes students get so engrossed in their prep for a particular exam that their whole life revolves around it. If they fair badly in the exam, the consequences, mentally and morally, turn out bad. It is all well and good for parents to encourage their ward to put in maximum effort, but it also their responsibility to keep their child grounded. It is left to the parents to make sure their child knows that there is life beyond exams.
Most students learn the chapters/concepts in school and most probably read them again in their coaching classes. Going through the entire day’s syllabus again creates disinterest in the subject. Practice makes perfect, but excessive revision makes one tired and uninterested. Some of the worst things in a student’s mind are linked indisputably to exams. Some parents go to the extent of cross-checking all the answers of the question paper right after the exam. It simply adds to the anxiety of the student. Though logically this seems reasonable to do, it does take a toll on the mental health of a child.
This is something most of the middle class parents tend to do. Although unintentional, this can cause very long term impact on their kid’s self esteem. And other than the low self esteem, this begets a tendency in the kid to seek drive through comparisons which is a long term curse and takes a long time to undo. So, in all possible ways comparisons should be avoided. Not only should parents stop themselves, they should deter the child from doing so.
Healthy Food Habits
Obviously this is something need not be told to the parents. But during the preaparations, students tend to give less importance to everything other than their studies. And in this line of negligence, Food habits affect the most. Unfortunately its effect isn’t very apparent. The last thing the parents would want is their kid to fall sick to a disease. So, this is something parents have to look after, because probably their kid isn’t heeding it.
At the end of it, children involuntarily learn a lot from his or her parents. Especially during a trying time, they look up to their parents subconsciously and get affected by their positive or negative behaviour.
A child’s preparation for exams is an extremely stressful affair. Some recreation is required. Read about how important leisure time is in this article.