Whether your kids are new to final exams or they have been completing them for the past several years, you probably think of spring as a stressful time for any students in your household. This is the time of year for final projects, research papers, and final exams. We’ve pulled together a few ways to help create an atmosphere of relaxation and focus to get your kids through finals. They boil down to encouraging healthy study habits and downtime habits and creating a support system at home.
Great learning frequently starts with good study habits. There are several factors that can go into creating a healthy and focused atmosphere for studying. Some of the most important are establishing a routine and organizing the study space. Here’s how you can help build great study habits for your kids.
Schedule and Establish Routine
Having an established routine can go a long way to helping improve memory and recall. It can help even more if your child’s routine runs like it will on exam day, with a similar quiet atmosphere and scheduling. In addition to making sure your child has a quiet place to study, you can also help by allowing them to feel in control of their schedule. Helping your kids plan out times to study different subjects and work on final projects can help them break down the whole experience into less overwhelming, manageable chunks.
Along with the atmosphere of quiet focus that you can help establish for your child, you can also recommend music that can keep them alert without becoming distracting. Music with words can distract from the subject at hand. Recommend that any music your child listens to while studying is strictly instrumental.
For many parents and students, it may come as a surprise that downtime habits are just as important as study habits when it comes to exam time. Although many hardworking students may brag about cramming and pulling all-nighters before the end of the year, rest and downtime can help students better remember important concepts and themes.
Many psychological studies, including this one by Psychology Today, stress the importance of downtime for the brain to synthesize information and commit it to memory. You can help encourage your kids to take advantage of mental downtime in a variety of ways:
Spending time outside: The study schedule that you help your kids create should have time built in between study blocks to get up, move around, and maybe even go outside. Stimulation of additional muscles can help the brain relax for a bit, better retaining that information that your child has just taken in.
Getting enough sleep: Children and teens need at least 8 hours a sleep at night to remain healthy. Encourage the students in your household to build sleep into their schedule and to avoid watching TV or movies before bed. Adding more information from additional sources (such as their favorite TV show), might convolute the information they’ve been studying and make it more difficult for the brain to synthesize that information as your child sleeps.
Eating a healthy meal: Even if you always try to encourage healthy eating habits in your children, times of heavy studying are even more important in this respect. Eating junk food or relying on too much caffeine can spike blood sugar levels, leaving your kids feeling very tired and groggy when they are taking exams or completing final projects. Eating fresh fruit, veggies, nuts, and protein can help sustain healthy blood sugar levels, leaving your kids alert and feeling good during exam period.
Create a Support System
The best way to keep kids relaxed and focused is to provide a great support system. Cultivating an awareness of exam times and final paper due dates in your household can help them feel supported. Emphasizing the work put in and not the end grade can also help students relax and focus on what they can control. As long as kids know that you support them when they try their best, they can avoid the majority of exam stressors.