Making time for exams
If you are a parent with kids in school, June is the new December.
With final performances, field trips, exams, and soccer/lacrosse/ball-hockey/baseball/soft-ball/golf/tennis tournaments, the calendar can feel incredibly overwhelming!
That’s why our theme this month is #ThereIsAlwaysTime
Today we are making time for studying for final exams. Why does this matter to us as parents?
We already passed our finals, right?
Brain research tells us that children and teens don’t have the frontal lobe development necessary for organization. Yes, some kids are more organized than others. Perhaps your child has a proven track record, that’s great. If not, children need us to check in with them and teach them how to get organized to do the studying they need to do.
This is not a question: Do you want my help getting ready to study?
This is a statement: We need to meet to plan/review your study schedule for exams. When would be the best time in the next few days?
A few things to take into consideration:
1. Sleep is important here so make sure that your kids are getting enough sleep.
2. A study schedule needs to be visible. THEY NEED TO SEE IT! So, even if he tells you his schedule is on his phone, your response is, “Great, now we’ll have it in 2 places and I won’t need to nag you to see it because it is in front of me.”
3. Kids consistently underestimate the amount of time they will need to get through the material (especially with math). Chunk out more time than they think is necessary.
Making a plan: When? Where? What?
1. Get a calendar and work backwards. Start with the exam date and plot in chunks of time for them to study the material. The point of this exercise is for your child to see how much time she does have available.
2. Get clear about the when; not just Tuesday but Tuesday from 4:30 – 6 and 7 – 9:30.
3. Get clear about the where. Plan a place that can remain consistent. If your child studies successfully in the bedroom, great. If that hasn’t always worked, this isn’t the time to try again. Find a centrally located space and keep the social media and phones out of the space. Research shows that it takes 25-400% longer to study when social media is present.
4. Get clear about what will be studied in each session. Your child may need help to plan the order or the amount of content. Allow him to chunk it out and then check in at the beginning of each session to clarify the focus for this session.
5. Remember to plan logical breaks. Many brains do better with multiple short sessions and tiny breaks rather than one long session.
6. Some kids really like to cross things off of a list as they complete each section.
This week, ask yourself these questions:
What does my child have left to do in this school year?
When am I going to approach my child about the study schedule planning session?
When can the study schedule planning session happen in the next few days?
What language can I use to keep myself calm when my child is losing her cool?
Remember, we can always use empathy to respond to an emotional child, we can also use I messages. Ultimately, when the emotional storms blow over, we can head back to the solid, visual plan and move through it one step at a time.
We’re here if you need help.