It’s that time of the year again and the buzz is on; timetables flying all around, teachers scurrying to get the assessment questions together and our dear children pooling all the different pieces of notes- gone – a – missing through the term.
Depending on the age of your child, different messages will reach you on your child’s parents-teachers’ forum (PTF); colors and dress code for graduating toddlers and preschools, reminders on ensuring your child’s notes and CA is up to date, changes in date for BECE, WAEC timetable and dates for practical examinations; the list can be unending!
While as parents these things can sometimes be daunting for you, I would want for us to look beyond ourselves and focus on the individuals in the midst of all the drama – your child. How is s/he coping in the midst of the buzz? Oftentimes, it is just taken for granted that our children are coping and should cope. However, they will cope better with your support. Your child needs you now to make it through this “stressful” period.
They need you to help them get ready physically and psychologically. They need your guidance, words of encouragement and sensitivity to know when to lower the demands reasonably so they can excel. The learning scape has changed; less time to do more work amidst loads of competing interests.
Here are 10 tips you can apply to help your child achieve success this period
1. Planning: help your child work out a plan for how to navigate this period. What is their regular routine, how can they fit in the added reading time for study? Sit down with your child to draw up a plan.
2. Help them understand their energy cycle: some children can read at any time and assimilate, others are nocturnal readers. Ask your child questions about the best time they enjoy studying and help them organize their plan for study around that time.
3. Provide Resources: most children from elementary school up have been plugged into online learning systems as giftings from the Covid lockdown. Your child will need internet access, regular power and access to a device during this period for seamless learning. Consistently check with them that they have what they require.
4. Health & wellness: we must have noticed that the weather has been a bit cold with people catching the flu more easily. This is the time to boost your child’s immune system; ensure they eat well, rest well (stress compromises the body’s immunity) and also popping in some vitamin C pills.
5. Guidance is needed: especially if your child struggles with self-management, this is not the time for the lamentations about their lax behavior, it is the time to provide guidance by ensuring the home time table is up, notes are up to date and follow up to ensure assigned study schedule is being followed. If you did not set an academic goal at the beginning of the term, it’s not late, set achievement targets and agree on a reward that your child chooses to strengthen their motivation.
6. Routines, routines, routines: this is the magic wand of more structure and less squabbles; if you don’t have an explicitly written routine for your child (highly recommended for toddlers up to school age children), be sure to get one up right away. Help your child go through and keep up with their routines for sleep, work and play this season to achieve balance and minimize stressors.
7. Pray with your child: this is not talking about the general family-we-all-gather-lift-the family-altar kind of prayer; it is prayer dedicated to your child’s success at this time. You are communicating to your child that you acknowledge the importance of this period and what best way to show it than to hold him/her up in the place of prayer.
8. Help when it is needed: be sensitive and reasonable with your older children, and offer help with routine home chores at this period. The idea is not to take it all upon yourself, but to be an occasional support.
9. Talk with your child: please create time to talk with your child during this period, there is the tendency for them to always want to be shut in with their books and devices. Book yourself in on their schedule for occasional gist so you can gauge how they are coping.
10. Process over product: with the examinations and assessments comes the expectations and validly too. Encourage and support your child to achieve success this season, however, focus more on the process than the product; how much effort they put in and celebrate their achievements without undue comparisons.
Wishing you and your child, the very best in the exams!