Half term is fun, but it can also be a useful time to self-evaluate. Half term dates are staggered throughout the UK so you may have had yours already, or maybe you’re on half term now. Either way, here are some useful ways you can be ensuring your give your child the best possible support going into the next term!
Emotional Health MOT
Do you know how your child is doing mentally and emotionally? These aspects can often get overlooked amongst the scramble to get good grades and homework in on time. This is a great time to ask questions and make a safe space for them to answer honestly. You may have a child that is forthcoming about emotions. However, if they’re more reserved, you can ask specific questions such as ‘what do you least enjoy about school right now?’ or ‘what makes you feel the most nervous about exams?’. By asking these direct questions, you are helping your child to be honest with themselves about any hidden anxieties. If they are having any difficulties, you can start to signpost them to services both within and outside of school. Also, be thinking outside the box – if they have pent up emotions, look at helping to find a healthy outlet to alleviate stress, like picking up a new sport. It would also be beneficial to set up weekly conversations with your child so you can help them to track their emotions and mental health as they go. This doesn’t have to be formal but bear in mind that in the busyness of life, such conversations can get neglected and things can pile up when left unsaid, adding to school-related anxieties.
Discuss extra curricular activities
What extra curricular activities is your child doing? Are they enjoying them? Is it too much for them? It’s important to try and help your child to have a well-rounded life and such activities can be crucial to this. Just check in and see how they’re feeling about them. It might be that they want to consider trying something new, as they feel a bit bored with what they’re doing now. Alternatively, if they’re feeling overloaded and have more going on at school right now, it’s maybe a good idea to think about dropping some activities and making space for rest and repose.
Organise, organise, organise!
This will come more naturally to some than others. Moreover, it will be easier in some areas of life than in others. Some practical things you can do include: creating a schedule, setting up a study area and helping your child to plan ahead. If you haven’t heard of the traffic light system (or ‘RAG’), it’s a good idea to get familiar with it. This means that, as a parent, you can sit with your child and help them to identify their stronger and weaker areas, allowing both of you to plan ahead. This helps them to prioritise their time to address areas they have self-selected to be Red (least confident). You might even consider hiring a private tutor to help with this process as they are trained to help students identify strengths, weakness and can provide general academic coaching skills as well as subject specific tuition.
Consider extra support
February is a good month to start considering extra academic support. If you’re taking exams this year, you may have just completed your mocks, giving you a good idea of where you stand now, and the grades you want to achieve.
You also have plenty of time to make a big difference. There’s a lot of support out there, including tutoring, coaching, peer mentoring and study groups. If you’re not sure if your child needs extra support, it’s better to try a tester tuition session and see how it goes rather than leave it to the last minute. Start now to avoid any sort of cramming situation in May!
To summarise, first check in to see how your child’s mental health is. Evaluate extracurricular activities to see if they are helpful or need a bit of a change. It’s important to focus on helping them organising themselves and empowering them to do this. It’ll also be worth it to consider getting extra support through private tuition or academic coaching.