Last week, I ran a video challenge over on LinkedIn, with quick tips and ideas to help families prepare for the upcoming exam season. It’s especially important for teens to have some guidance during this unstructured holiday time, so I’m recreating the main ideas here for you this week. I hope you find them useful.
Today I want to talk about planning. Your kids’ teachers will have told them to make a revision plan. There are lots of ways of doing that, from whizzy interactive tools to old-school colouring in. What they might not have discussed is the “why” of planning. It’s not supposed to be just another timetable to fill the time while you’re on study leave.
I think there are a couple of good reasons to do a plan. One is to make sure nothing is missed (if you put all the topics in, you can’t go wrong), but I think the most important reason to plan is to reduce stress levels. Yes, you read that right – revision plans make you less stressed! Think about it: if you’ve got work to do and you haven’t set aside a specific time to do it, you spend all your time thinking, “I should be doing some work”. We’ve all been there – that “should” is a real source of stress. How much better then, to have specific times for working and other times when you can completely relax, safe in the knowledge that there’s nothing you should be doing.
That brings me on to the “what” of planning. Don’t just plan the work – plan the time off too. That means time for hobbies, chilling out, socialising with friends, sleeping – everything. Teenagers need to be doing all these things right through the revision period (within reason, of course). It’s much easier to follow a plan that has nice things on it!
So if you’re a parent or carer, your challenge today is to talk with your teenager about planning. Do they already have a plan? How are they feeling about it? Would their plan benefit from a boost of positive activities? Lots of students really appreciate an adult sitting down to make a plan together, rather than imposing something on them. So have a chat about the type of plan they want (hi or lo tech), what activities they want to include and when they will plan to sleep and relax. Being able to tick off “sleep” as a task completed gives me a real boost – how about you and your teenager?