It’s exam time and if your children are taking critical exams they’ll probably be in meltdown right about now.  Revision will be taking over their lives. If your teen is diligently beavering away with a mountain of revision material, it can be easy to let them get on with it and feel proud of their diligence. But if your teen is finding revision a serious challenge, it can be worrying that they’re going to struggle in the exam. Both issues need addressing and some revisions strategies may be needed.

Agree a plan

A revision plan that covers the subjects they need to study in no more than one hour at a time, followed by at least a five minute break, will improve their concentration. You can’t make the plan for them – but offer help and put their schedule up somewhere everyone can see it, so other family members know to leave them in peace when they’re studying.

Be supportive

Tell them that you’re there to help, encourage them in their efforts and be available to listen (although not all teens consider parents suitable humans to confide in!).  Show an interest and if they start talking about ‘failures’ or things they haven’t done well in, ask what lessons they learned from these mistakes. If they are really struggling, encourage them to talk to a teacher or school counsellor if you can’t help. Don’t forget that a hug and ‘I love you’ can go a long way.

Make allowances

Your child will probably be fairly stressed and may even be worried about not meeting your expectations.  There may be occasional outbursts and you know the saying ‘you always hurt the ones you love’.  Try to stay calm and take these in your stride. Don’t get on their case about small stuff – like tidying their room, leaving the light on or being uncommunicative.

Encourage breaks

Try to get your child to join the family for dinner.  Encourage them to take some breaks away from revision and get them out into the fresh air, even if it’s just walking to their friend’s to revise together.  Some kids need a total break to recharge their batteries.  If that means a weekend or a day off revision, let them do that.

Expect they’ll do their best

Whether they are assuring you they’ll breeze the exams or full of doom and gloom about their chances of passing, reassure them that you know they will do the best they can.  Regardless of what they report after the exam, remain positive about their performance as far as possible and keep your doubts, if you have them, under wraps.