Help for parents, students as final exams approach

Some people say it’s parents who have the most difficult job.

It’s an up-at-dawn, full-time position that seemingly continues without end.

The Ministry of Education, acknowledging this, is offering help to parents as students prepare for the year-end examinations.

One of the education professionals’ simple pieces of advice is for parents to be parents – children have enough friends at school.

The Education Ministry’s liaison officer for at-risk youth, Michael Myles, said parents should also be aware of the exam schedule and what that means to their children.

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“Get to know your child. Know how they take tests,” he said. “If you feel like there is some anxiety around every time a child takes a test, you need to find ways to bring that anxiety down.”

Keeping a calm environment around the house is essential, Mr. Myles said, which means cell phones, computers and other electronics should be turned off and away from kids around test time and bed time.

Children should be getting 10 to 12 hours of sleep per night because of the growth process.

Further, Mr. Myles said, parents should acknowledge their child’s nervousness. Talk to children, he said – communication is the most important thing.

“And build relationships with the teachers,” he added. Call the schools and get an appointment to see the teachers.

More tools for parents

Literacy specialist Anne Briggs and educator Kiva Powell joined Mr. Myles in offering ways to equip parents with better tools to help their children succeed.

Ms Powell said parents should avoid cursing and using negative words around exam time, in the drive to school and in the times around test day.

Empathy is a powerful tool, according to Ms Briggs.

“This is just a snapshot on one day how your child does … If they don’t do well, it doesn’t make them not smart,” she said.

Mr. Myles said parents can pose questions to their kids about their thoughts and feelings – reaching out and showing their child that they care is essential.

Ultimately, the final examinations at the end of the school year shouldn’t come as a surprise, said Ms Powell.

“They’ve been working for this the whole year,” she said. “They’ve had a whole year to prepare for this week. They shouldn’t be caught off guard.”

For more information, contact Mr. Myles at 244-2417 or [email protected]

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