School has become overly stressful. If you take the time to look at the amount of homework they are expected to finish in one night, the projects with small windows of prep time in between, and countless standardized tests they need to study for. Not to mention, they are expected to participate in extracurricular activities so they can get a more holistic school experience.
For instance, there are international schools which conduct the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education annually. This is when secondary students are required to take a series of tests, and the results will determine whether they can qualify for pre-university studies or not. As guardians, we can already see how much pressure kids are in during normal school days. Now we have to dump this information on them.
So the question is: how do we make sure that while they are working hard to get good grades, they are also not at risk of overstress? Well, one of the simplest ways we can get involved is to help them create a study habit they can stick with.
Get updated with school events and plot them on a large calendar
Let’s use the Global Indian International School as an example – they have a mobile app called the myGIIS that parents can use to communicate with teachers and keep themselves informed of important school schedules. If your school does not offer an app or a weekly newsletter, maybe you can suggest this idea at a parent-teacher council.
Collate important schedules, and using colorful markers, mark them on a communal calendar. Preferably, this calendar should be accessible to everyone so they can make changes when they need to. But don’t just limit this to the school schedule; if they are going out with friends, you can ask them to put it there.
Have a consistent study schedule
The best way to learn how to consistently study is to actually do it on a daily basis. What this can essentially do is retain discussion information during the day more effectively by going over it again. By doing this, the students don’t actually have to study extra hard before an exam. They can just sift through notes and do practice exercises.
Set a specific time when they should focus on schoolwork and studying and make it a routine. An example would be as soon as they arrive from school, allow them to relax for about an hour. Then before dinner, they have to start doing their schoolwork. This cuts their schoolwork time after dinner so they still have time to do what they want and get a good night’s sleep.
Always have breaks
Allowing breaks in between studying does well to our children. One would be giving our kids’ minds and eyes a much needed a break. Another would be for the benefit of kids who may dislike studying for long periods of time. Ask them if they work better with white noise, in which case you can turn on the TV on a channel they like, but you have to make clear that their homework needs to be done. Or ask if they prefer studying with music.
The most important thing to remember is to look for signs of frustration. No matter how comfortable the environment is, our kids may still feel annoyed that they are not understanding a lesson. When this happens, that is when you step in to study with them. Note that if you are not in the mood yourself, do not offer your help. Two frustrated people is not going to make it any easier.