Eighteen odd years down the line, and you’ve reached that important milestone – the matric exams and the burden of anxiety it carries for the whole family.
You and your child have achieved many small and big milestones along the way – the first few steps, the first words spoken, the pre-school years, followed by the years in primary school and, finally, the high school years. This long journey culminates in this one, final event – the matric examination.
When your child writes matric, you may well feel as if the entire family writes matric. It is a big occasion and like all big occasions, it brings its fair share of stress and anxiety. Handling your own and your child’s stress positively will go a long way towards maintaining sanity in the family.
Optimising your child’s chances for success
You can do a lot to make things easier for your child, physically and emotionally. Here are five tips to see you through these challenging weeks.
1. Give emotional support
Don’t add to your child’s stress by putting unnecessary pressure on them. Encourage them to do the best they can, but don’t make out that it’s the end of the world if they do not do as well as expected. Let them know that exams can be re-written if the results are not what you’d hoped for.
Discuss the upcoming exams with your child and ask what their main concerns are and how you can help. Find out your child’s greatest areas of concern and help them draw up a study timetable, allowing extra sessions for the areas of concern and making sure it allows for regular breaks.
3. Create a study-friendly environment
Set up a study area that is quiet and as far away as possible from family activities. Make sure your child has everything needed to aid concentration, such as a jug of water, necessary stationery, fresh air and so on. Remove distractions such as the TV from the study area and keep down family noise. Let them off the hook as far as home chores are concerned and make sure they get enough sleep.
4. Prepare wholesome meals and snacks
Make sure your child eats regularly and sticks to a balanced diet that contains plenty of vegetables and fruit. Discourage them from resorting to drinking coffee or other caffeinated drinks and reward them with some delicious snacks during breaks.
5. Have fun every now and then
Reassure and motivate your child as often as you can. Do something you both like during breaks or let them do something on their own, if they prefer. To celebrate after a big exam, go to a restaurant, cook a special dinner at home, or watch a movie or series together.
Above all, let your child know you’re there for them whatever the results.
By Linda Cilliers