Ten Tips for Helpful Parents

Many of the parents of our students with whom we work are characterised by a genuine desire to see their children achieve the best results that they can, which is why they approach us. The role that parental support plays during the period leading up to major exams can never be overestimated. It is very common for parents to wonder how best they can help their offspring get through this important time of their life. Here are a few tips that should make life easier for the whole family and help the student really perform as required:

  1. Firstly, deal openly with the academic status quo. Gain a real understanding of where your child is at, through grades, reports, teachers’ comments and their own opinion. Only when you have accurately gauged their current position can you move forward with confidence.
  2. When you have identified areas in which your child could do with support, look at practical solutions, including tuition and intensive revision courses.
  3. Keep the dialogue flowing. This is not always easy with a student who is under pressure, but the more you talk about their progress, the easier they are likely to find it to open up. It is your business!
  4. Have high but realistic expectations. This can be a tricky balance to pull off, but with the right guidance, you will know deep down what your child is capable of achieving and encourage them not to settle for less, without piling on the pressure.
  5. Give them space to study. Don’t crowd them or mind if they seem to be locked in their room for periods, within reason. They will need to be more selfish with their time for a while.
  6. Try to keep normal home life ticking over, without nagging. Gentle reminders that they take breaks, sleep well and enjoy good healthy home meals will all help.
  7. Remind them that this is just one phase of life. Get them to look beyond the exams to the rewards, such as a new career or life at university.
  8. Look out for signs of stress. You know your child and if it all seems to be getting on top of them, do talk about it. They may well hide their concerns, but face them head on, together.
  9. Talk through best case and worst case scenarios. Just as it helps in the pressurized world of work, so it can help with students. Voicing fears is a way of confronting them, whilst talking about positive outcomes can focus the mind and be hugely encouraging.
  10. Tell them how well they are doing and give the odd pep talk. Parental words often stay with us more than any others, so talk up your offspring and prepare them for success.
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