In such a competitive school scene, parents often pile assessments and tuition sessions upon their children the second they get home from school. However, while people might think all these supplementary materials are necessary for good results, they tend to forget that all work and no play make Jack a dull boy.
Moreover, students who always have their heads in their books may burn out from overworking before the exam period, and thus deem their entire study regiment all for naught.
Why is it important to strike a proper balance?
The times when children are out having fun are when they’re the most relaxed. The lack of stress allows them to recharge their brain and would thus make for better brainstorming and memorising when the time for study comes around.
This is also important during the actual examination period—last-minute cramming is usually unable to help one understand the material, so taking some time out to rejuvenate oneself is crucial to be fresh for the exams.
Here’s what parents can do to balance their child’s work and play, even during the exam period.
#1 Understand your child
No two children are alike, and the ones who must understand this first are parents. Before setting limits or making any plans, observe your child’s behaviour after school—are they tired or still have the energy to get to their studies? Some children may need time to work off stress from school by playing outside for a while. Once you have realised what your child needs, you can get to planning a schedule for him.
#2 Define spaces to play and spaces to work
To make it clear to your child that there’s a time for playing and a time for work, create dedicated spaces for either activity. For example, a desk with a lamp and stationery would be good for studying, while all gaming accessories should be placed in a separate part of the room to help avoid distractions during study time.
#3 Define how long your child is allowed to play
Children tend to want to spend the whole day playing, so it’s up to the parents to decide how long they’re allowed out or on their computers. Set a limit of an hour or so for each session so they can de-stress before getting to work. For children who need more playtime, multiple sessions in a day could also work.
#4 Make a study schedule
Adding on to the above, a study schedule would do wonders towards balancing your child’s time. Talk to him to understand what each school subject is about and spend time with him writing down the weekly schedule so you’re both on the same page. Ensure all subjects are accounted for and try to stay a little bit ahead so he doesn’t fall behind.
#5 Help him stay on top of his homework
Some days, homework can come by the truckloads. Setting aside some time from both play and revision for your child’s homework will help him stay on top of his assignments and help him by reviewing the completed work (but not by answering the questions for him!).
#6 Tweak the schedule to fit his needs
The first draft of anything is far from perfect, and that goes the same for your weekly schedule. Observe how your child is coping with the workload and review it if necessary—having some time to speak to him about assignments and revision progress will not only help your child with exams but also help you as a parent understand him better.