Big sigh all round for both children and parents as exam season is upon us. Whether it is the SATs, GCSEs or just the usual end-of-term tests, revising is difficult for children of all ages and tends to hang over family life like a dark cloud.
So what tips can you give your children to help them study? Children’s health and wellbeing charity the Sunflower Trust has some advice to make it just a bit less painful:
Keep it moving
They’ve had to sit still at school all day so the last thing they want to do is sit down and learn again when then get home. Good news - revising doesn’t have to be done at a table or desk; many people learn better if they are moving about – this is called kinaesthetic learning. Your child might find it really works for them to read their notes while pacing up and down or jiggling around on an exercise ball.
Perhaps you can suggest testing them verbally on what they have learned while they jump on the trampoline or play with a stress toy. Who says revising can’t be fun?
In through the ears
Many people are auditory learners – meaning they find it easier to take in and retain information by hearing it, rather than reading. If your child is an auditory learner, they may find it works to record themselves reading the facts they need to learn so they can listen to it over and over again. It will probably make them laugh, but again, who says revising can’t be fun?
The advantage of this system is that they can revise on the go! Perhaps they could listen to their work on the way to school, or even in bed before they go to sleep.
Auditory learners may also prefer to find educational videos online to watch.
Bright colours are a bright idea
For children who are visual learners, there are lots of ideas that can help them:
- Make posters/visual mind maps to stick up around their bedroom
- Use lots of different colours/highlighter pens in revision notes
- Make revision notes into cards that can be flicked through or to make games out of
- Find educational videos about the topic/subject to watch
General revision tips and ideas
They’ve sat and listened to teachers all day so why not encourage them to be the teacher for a change. Children of all ages love being able to teach their parents about a topic. Older children might also enjoy teaching a younger sibling.
Teach your children to have sensible revision targets – study for 20 mins and then give themselves a treat. They could have a snack and drink, a 10-minute kick about in the garden, a play with the dog.
Create a pleasant environment for your child to study in. Temperature, lighting, aroma, noise and seating can all make a big difference to their learning.
Sunflower Trust CEO, Nichola Atkinson, says: “Make sure your child is as physically resilient as possible by getting a good night’s sleep – not just the night before but for the whole week on the run up to an exam. Ensure their diet is varied with foods high in probiotics which can settle the gut and help them feel alert and think more clearly. Slow-release carbohydrates will keep their energy levels high and foods high in antioxidants are excellent at combating the physical effects of stress. Don’t forget that whole milk is fortified with Vitamin D - a vitamin essential for happiness. And, last but not least, don't worry about household jobs that are left undone or untidy bedrooms – they can wait for another day.”