How to Support your Teen when Exam Season Hits – Striking the Right Balance
We all know that exam season can be an extremely stressful time – not only for your teen but also for parents. Not knowing how to approach your teen can be one of the main stressors for parents. There’s a definite balancing act between giving them too much help and attention or not enough.
To help, here are six of the best tips to help support your teen through revision:
#1 Help them plan when to revise, but also plan time for fun things
This approach helps to give structure to their revision time, giving clear boundaries on when they’re working and when they can just relax. It can work as an incentive to get them through revision and helps to provide a nice end goal to work towards during revision time.
#2 Make revision as creative as possible
Help your teens get creative. Use bright stationery. Record revision notes as voice memos. Create posters as visual aids to prompt. Anything visual is often a helpful aid and encourages different ways of remembering the information
#3 Minimise distractions
If they’re someone that needs music to focus, get them to listen to music without words. Music with lyrics can often cause you to lose focus and you end up focusing on the song rather than revision.
And, if you work from home yourself, keep your working space separate from where your teen is revising, so you’re not tempted to talk to them when they’re trying to get on with revision.
#4 Help them create a separate working space – not their bedroom
Separate out the bedroom and workspaces. This is crucial. You don’t want them to associate their bedroom with revision. Their bedroom is a safe, fun space, where worries aren’t associated. Working in their room can often cause a temptation to work from your bed too – you don’t want them risking of falling asleep while working!
If there isn’t a separate space available at home, consider working in a local library.
#5 Speak to your teen about what type of help they’d like from you
Talk to your teen and establish exactly what is helpful and what isn’t. If you’re honest about the process it will be a lot easier for both parent and child
#6 Establish a signal for when they want/ don’t want help
Agree a code for interacting with them over revision time, e.g: when doors open you can come in but if closed/ajar/headphones are on then they’re busy. This will ensure you’re not interrupting them when they’re in the middle of work and helps prevent unnecessary tension
Spotting the signs of stress during revision time
As well as helping your teen to revise, one of the biggest concerns for parents is helping teens minimise stress. Knowing how to spot the signs means you can step in before stress becomes a real problem. These may seem obvious and you may think ‘I know my child’, but exam stress and anxiety can trigger out of character behaviour.
Here are a few of the most common signs to look for:
- Not eating properly
- Not sleeping
- Changes in mood: snappier/tearful/worried
- Withdrawal from friends/family
- Avoiding revision
- Avoiding any sort of communication
Revision time can be very tense and stressful for everyone in a family. Be kind to yourself and your teens: you will get through this!