Supporting a child who is doing their HSC is not always an easy task. The HSC has its challenges and parents can sometimes struggle to motivate and encourage their children during this stressful time.
But no need to worry!
Here are some simple do’s and don’ts that should make life this year easier:
- Provide a quiet, comfortable study area – and stay away from it. Enter only if invited (and maybe once in a while to make sure they are actually getting some work done).
- Allow the student to set his/her own study timetable or plan it together. Don’t create one yourself – the student needs to be invested in it and comfortable with it. Otherwise it just won’t work.
- Try to avoid setting stressful or unrealistic goals such as “you must study ALL day!”. Replace these with expectations like “Today I would like you to try to do four hours of study. I know you can do it! I will set a timer for half an hour of quiet study, and you can take a break for five minutes between every half hour!”
- Make sure your child can feel motivated by having something to look forward to. For example, promising they can go out with friends after finishing their practice test!
- You could ask how you can help. Or be specific and offer to test memorised material. You can find resources such as past papers on the NESA website! Teachers and tutors can also happily provide other resources.
- You could also talk to their teachers to find out if there are particular areas where the student needs help.
- Don’t add pressure by bringing up the topics of the HSC, studying, what they want to do after they finish school or their career preferences. Since the HSC is stressful, it is good to focus on one thing at a time and take it step by step.
- (If all else fails) remind your student that everyone goes through rites of passage like this. They’re not the first, or the last.
- Chat if they want, provide quiet time if they don’t.
- Shakespeare knew the benefit of comic relief so add humour and a bit of fun to family meals.
- Stock the area with a selection of healthy snacks – to avoid the student finding ways to interrupt the work or procrastinate. Of course, do not forget one or two treats to make life more exciting. I used to always look forward to bubble tea!
- Don’t cater to the student’s nerves, hysterics, tantrums. Keep calm, it’s contagious.
- Insist on balance – a social life (real personal interaction not social media!), sport, exercise and a healthy diet will keep the students and you sane.
- Let the student sleep in. Teenage bodies like to stay up late and sleep late. However, be sure to support them with a gentle reminder to do a bit of study when they are well rested.
- And just a tip – carbs help before exams and might help settle nerves.
Ultimately, you should congratulate yourself as a parent for trying to support your child during this time. Do not feel the pressure to do everything perfectly, as there will always be a few bumps in the road. Your child will appreciate your support and wants you to remind them that they can achieve their personal best!