How to help your child during GCSEs

There are many ways parents can help their child through GCSEs

There are many ways parents can help their child through GCSEs - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Education experts agree the key factors for success in examinations are hard work and determination.

Pupils achieve the highest results when parents are supportive and emphasize that education is the key to success in later life.

The GCSE years, 10 and 11, are two of the most important at secondary school and it is vital that teenagers feel supported and are able to cope. Many experts agree it is a combination of getting organised and having a balanced life.

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Jeremy Todd, Chief Executive of the charity, Family Lives, said: "You can help your child handle their studies in a number of simple ways, such as setting aside a place away from the TV for studying, and helping them find a homework routine that suits them."

Talking to your child about the task at hand is also beneficial, and encourage them to use the various resources available to them, such as the library, the internet and after school study clubs. Don't forget to praise their hard work, as this is important too.

Diet and energy levels

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Make sure your child is eating well; a balanced diet is important for general health and can sustain them through exam periods. A diet that contains too many fats, sugars and is high in caffeine can make children moody, irritable and hyperactive.

Sleep and exercise

Good sleep will improve thinking and concentration. Most teenagers need between eight and ten hours' sleep a night. Exercise can help boost energy levels too, as well as clear the mind and relieve stress.

Managing stress

Ensuring your child has free time each week, away from the books will give their minds a break. While managing their stress is important, managing yours is as well, because if you are stressed out, your child will be too. Family Lives also advises parents to be flexible around exam time. Household chores and unmade beds are not important when your child has been revising all day.

Support group ChildLine says that many of the children who contact them feel that the greatest pressure at exam time comes from their family. Mother-of-four, Lisa Kingman, whose children have all been successful in their GCSEs, said: "Keep things in perspective, listen to your children, give support and avoid criticism."