Working through challenge

As the term heads towards preparing for exams, tests and assignments, experience has taught us that this can be stressful – and not just for your teenager, but for every member of the family. To help create a positive environment and work through the challenge, there are practical ways that you can help your teenager feel ready for these learning experiences – and minimise the tension in your household.

1. Focus on the basics

Effective study is almost impossible without the basics taken care of first. Being well-fed, hydrated and well-rested is a solid foundation for study success and without these important ingredients, your child’s brain will find it hard to work at full capacity.

2. Create study goals – and prioritise

When the going gets tough, it’s natural to take the path of least resistance. For your teenager facing a range of subjects, it’s helpful to direct them to tackle the most difficult subjects at the start of their session, when their ability to concentrate is at its best.

By prioritising all the tasks that demand a high level of focus and creativity, they’ll have a better chance of dealing with them before their energy gets sapped.

3. Identify exam stress early

Be aware of the warning signs that could indicate stress in your teenager.

Some common stress signs include:

  • interrupted sleep
  • erratic eating habits
  • low confidence
  • increased frustration or anger
  • headaches, eczema, skin break-outs

If you notice your teenager suffering from any of the above, check through the study preparation basics to see what you can help with. If their health is compromised, find out how a GP can help with stress.

4. Communicate

Ask your teen how their revision is going and if there is anything you can help them with. Even a simple conversation at the end of the day and sharing some positive feedback about what they have achieved can be a big boost and help them feel less alone.

Don’t feel bad if they don’t want to talk. It’s not personal. Making them feel bad about not opening up to you will only add to their stress, not reduce it.

5. Look after yourself – and be positive (and resilient)

You might have lots going on in your own life but trying to maintain an environment of positive support is important for your child’s study success. If you’re facing your own worries with work or personal issues, make sure you have a great friend to talk to – confiding in your teenager at this time about all the tricky situations that might be going on in your office or extended family will not help them focus on their study in a positive way. Looking after yourself is one of the best things you can do to help look after your teenager.

This article is an abbreviated version of a resource from Reachout.com. To read the full article go to https://parents.au.reachout.com/common-concerns/everyday-issues/5-ways-parents-can-help-teenagers-study-for-exams/

Mr Mike Ebert

Tatachilla Lutheran College
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