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.
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.
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.
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.
Many thanks to eduqas for the above information.
At AMSI, we recognise the importance of working closely with parents and carers to support pupil progress. One of the easiest but most important ways that parents and carers can support their child’s progress at home is to encourage them to read. We recommend that every student should be reading for around 30-45 minutes per day: ideally, this should be part of their daily routine.
In order to support parents and carers, we have outlined some key advice for ensuring that your child develops the reading habits that will support their academic progress at school.
How can I support my child with their reading?
The following guide, from the Department for Education, is designed specifically for parents and carers and has excellent advice on how to support your child.
What books should my child be reading?
Check out some of the sites below for comprehensive reading lists to suit students of all tastes and ages:
Love Reading 4 Schools
Reluctant readers (Y7-9)
The CILIP Carnegie Award Shortlist
Where can I find books for my child to read?
As well as the school library, Islington has several public libraries with extensive children’s fiction sections, which are all free to join. The nearest libraries to AMSI are:
- North Library
Manor Gardens, London N7 6JX
- N4 Library
26 Blackstock Rd, Finsbury Park, London N4 2DW
- Archway Library
23 Highgate Hill, Archway, London N19 5LP
My child used to read a lot but has now lost interest: what can I do?
Here are some tips from Book Trust for promoting reading in your home with older children:
- Ensure that your children see you reading. It doesn’t matter if it’s the newspaper, a cookery book, romantic novel, detective mystery, short stories, computer manual, magazine – anything!
- Encourage children to join in – ask a child to read out a recipe for you as you cook, or the TV listings when you are watching TV.
- Give books or book tokens as presents (and encourage others to do so!)
- Visit the local library together on a regular basis, and enjoy spending time choosing new books.
- Encourage children to carry a book at all times so they can read on journeys or in spare moments – you can do this, too!
- Keep reading together. There are lots of books that both adults and young people can enjoy. Try The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, the Harry Potter series, or The Life of Pi by Yann Martel. Read books you can all talk about but make the talk light-hearted, not testing or over-questioning.
- Go to libraries or bookshops when authors are visiting. Children and teenagers love meeting their favourite writers – Jacqueline Wilson and Anthony Horowitz always have signing queues that are miles long!
- Make sure your home is a reading home – have a family bookshelf and make sure there are shelves in your children’s bedrooms as well.
- Don’t panic if your child reads the same book over and over again – let’s be honest, we’ve probably all done it!
- Encourage your children and their friends to swap books with each other. This will encourage them to talk and think about the books they are reading
My child says they don’t like reading: what can I do?
Author Jeff Norton has some advice for children (and parents of children) who are reluctant readers: Article