There is no doubt that year 12 is one of the most challenging and stressful periods of your child’s schooling life. What we don’t always remember is that parents are also going through the HSC journey and can feel just as stressed and helpless. That’s why to start off our Parent Support Series, we’ve compiled our best tips on how YOU can help your child through the HSC. Whilst you can’t sit their exams for them, there are many practical things you can do to help reduce unnecessary stress and ensure your child does their best!
1. Provide a good study space
Your child needs a quiet and comfortable study space within your home. Ensure that there is adequate table space, good lighting, and it is free from distractions such as the TV, their mobile phone and the presence of other siblings. You should also be aware of distractions on the computer that can hinder your child’s study – these include social media pages (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) video streaming websites (YouTube, Netflix and Stan) and online gaming. To prevent such distractions during study time, you can implement ‘parental controls’ on your child’s laptop and restrict access to certain websites at designated times. For instructions on implementing ‘parental controls’ for Macs click here and for PC’s click here.
2. Provide healthy food
Provide healthy meals and snacks for your child – a balanced diet makes for better concentration and learning. Some good brain food includes oily fish (like salmon), avocado, blueberries, eggs and dark leafy greens. For some brain boosting dinner recipes click here. Whilst it’s important that you provide healthy food, it’s even more important that your child eats it! To ensure your child isn’t skipping meals and is eating a balanced diet, eat dinner together as a family. This also promotes better family connection, and provides your child a break from studying.
3. It’s all about balance
To achieve the best marks, your child needs to take a balanced approach to study. Whilst you may feel that any minute not spent studying is a minute wasted, your child needs time to unwind and relax. Short bursts of studying (2-3 hour blocks) that are strictly dedicated to work are more effective than long study sessions. Your child should then break up their study by doing something they find enjoyable and relaxing. Exercising is a great study break idea as it releases endorphins, a natural stress-reliever! Also encourage your child to get enough sleep – sleep deprivation can negatively affect one’s mood, memory, ability to learn and efficiency.
4. Encourage them to do their best
A lot of your child’s stress stems from a fear of disappointing you or letting you down. To reduce these pressures, you need to recognise that your child can’t do any better than their best. Tell your child that their best is good enough and mean it – if they walk out of the exam saying they “did their best”, you need to be happy with that.
5. Understand that it’s just an exam
Yes, the HSC is important, but it’s not the be all and end all – a great mark is not worth sacrificing your child’s mental health. An ATAR, subject rank or exam mark is not a measure of your child worth and you must ensure that your child understands that. In the case that your child does not do as well as you expected, don’t rant and rave about it. Instead, do something productive and look at what options they can take to get where they want. There are always options, like doing a general degree, achieving good marks and then transferring.