Exams aren’t everything? Prove it to your children by showing them that there is more to life.
Studies have found that consistently eating breakfast and drinking water during an exam can have a positive impact on one’s academic performance; one study registered a 25 percent increase in math scores for students who participated in their schools’ free breakfast programmes. In the run-up to the exams, ensure healthy eating habits are in place, and integrate more “brain foods” into your child’s diet; these include foods such as wholegrains, fish, and broccoli, which have been linked to enhanced memory and cognition. To maximize the bonding opportunities, you could discover new foods together, collaborate on an “exam-ready” menu plan, and involve your child in the cooking process if he or she enjoys time in the kitchen.
Exposure to sunlight and greenery is healthy for everyone; it can enhance one’s mood, concentration, memory, and cognition, as well as mitigate the effects of fatigue, depression, and anxiety. Regular visits to your neighbourhood playground or nearby park are sufficient for reaping the benefits of “nature therapy,” but you could also sign the family up for organised activities such as nature walks and outdoor workshops.
Dream Big And Reach Out
To put the exams in perspective, watch or read the news with your children and talk about the challenges that others in Singapore and elsewhere face. If your child seems interested to champion a cause or help a group in need, find out how you can get involved as a family, either by raising funds or finding a relevant group to volunteer with. If there is a gap to fill, you could even consider starting your own project to support your child’s vision.
Read To Relax
Reading should be an everyday affair, and children should be encouraged to read for pleasure alone—and not, for example, as a means to improve their composition writing. Scheduling library or bookstore visits during exam season sends a strong message about the importance that your family places on leisure reading. Use our list of book recommendation resources to aid your literary explorations, or read our interview with a book reviewer for her top selections.
Released last year, PSLE-GO is a short film on a subject that many Singaporean children and their parents will relate to—the mounting pressure of primary school life, leading up to the pivotal Primary School Leaving Examination in Primary 6. It is a film designed to elicit conversations between parents and children about results, mindsets, and expectations. Watch it with your children, use it to reflect on your own attitudes, and find out if your children identify with the stressors and fears that beset the film’s protagonists.