The 2016 Matric examinations have officially kicked off. To many parents this may mean the end of 13 years of schooling for the children. But for Grade 12 learners, it means hours of daunting fate-deciding tests.

It is no doubt that these final exams are a very stressful time for your teen. This stress can sometimes trickle down to all members of the family where even the dog feels the pressure.

And while parents’ main goal is for their children to perform well, this can often add more pressure to learners who believe that these exams will determine the course of their futures.

So what can parents do to motivate their kids but lessen the pressure during a very tough few weeks?

We have five tips for you:

1. Help with revision



Parents often think they cannot help their children with their schools work. The common excuse is “work has change since I’ve been in school”. But the truth is, parents can and should contribute to their children’s learning.

The key to doing well in examinations is planning and revision. You can help your child create a clear study plan and method.

  • Work out a timetable for each subject.
  • Make sure your child has all the necessary materials and resources.
  • Provide additional resources such as study guides and instructional videos if possible.
  • Revise notes with them.
  • Ask them questions to test their knowledge.

2. Provide support



Exam time comes with a lot of stress. This stress can lead to mood swings, frustrations, sadness and sometimes loneliness.

Try to make the home and their study space comfortable, peaceful and calm. Encourage your child to join family conversations or do things they enjoy when they’re on a study break.

Studying for an exam many not seem like a big deal compared to doing a professional job but it is the centre of your child’s world at this time. Try not to nag, argue or add any external pressure on them.

Insist on your child getting enough sleep at night and eating well during the day. Sleep and good nutrition helps concentration and retaining information.

Positive reinforcement



While bribes of money or nice things to perform well often work on teenagers, try to encourage them to do their best for themselves.

Sometimes treats or rewards like encouragements or compliments when they perform well give learners more confidence to always try their best.

Physical rewards could work better if they are smaller treats with a big celebration or reward at the end of the exam. This gives children something to look forward and makes them feel like they’ve accomplished something when exams are over.

Be real



Matric exams are very important and performing well can make better opportunities available for learners. However, be honest and realistic about your child’s abilities. If your child has always struggled with Mathematics, do not push them for an 80% pass.

Talk to them about what they can achieve. Also provide them with enough information about what options there are for them when they finish school. There are options such as university, colleges, vocational training schools, gap year programs, internships and learnerships, jobs, volunteering and many more.

Check out these links for advice on life after matric:

Chill Out



Even though it is your child who will be writing the exam, make sure you are relaxed. Your child needs to be able to take comfort in your calmness.

Need some more advice? Why not ask your neighbours?

Create a matric revision group on your neighbourhood’s OurHood site and chat to other parents or arrange study groups with your trusted neighbours. Join OurHood today!

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