There are still two and a half weeks until the Easter holidays and this year the Leaving Cert oral and practical music exams will take place in the first week of the holiday. This is always a busy time of year for sophomores, and the prospect of those assessments undoubtedly adds to the pressure.
It can be difficult to keep track of everything that needs to be done. Certainly we can expect students to have good days and bad days when it comes to meeting their workload. The level of organization and time management required would overwhelm most adults, and sixth grade students are generally unexperienced with such a challenge.
Students need to keep up in all subjects as teachers try to finish courses and prepare for exams in June. This means that homework and new topics taught in the subjects are not neglected. In addition, students have to prepare for upcoming internships and oral exams, which is not an easy task.
So how can parents support their offspring at this time of year?
It is important to try to promote good mental health practices in your home. If you see that your teen is overwhelmed, perhaps encourage them to go for a walk, take a break, or have a chat.
It can be so frustrating for parents when they feel their son or daughter is not doing what they should be doing to prepare for those exams, but it can’t be done for them. Try to keep the tension low, but listen when they want to talk.
Remember that stress is contagious. Just like toddlers, teenagers and young adults will look to their parents for reassurance and guidance on how to respond.
All parents worry about how their child will behave and how they will cope. It is impossible for parents to control this part of a child’s experience, and trying to do so will only add to their stress.
Parents need not be reminded of the difficult experience this year’s Leaving Cert candidates had in the senior cycle, but of the additional choice in the papers, as well as the adjustment of standardization to ensure overall scores are not lower than last year, will support them.
The focus for families now is to take one step at a time to manage the workload and keep stress levels as low as possible while accepting that there may be breakdowns along the way.
Feed them, support them and help them stay calm. Keep the house quiet, the food is coming, remind them to have balance in their lives and ask them what they need.
Aoife Walsh is a Counselor at Malahide Community School, Co. Dublin
https://www.independent.ie/life/class-of-2022-parents-can-help-exam-students-by-keeping-calm-and-making-sure-they-take-enough-breaks-41476306.html Year 2022: Parents can help exam students by staying calm and taking enough breaks