It’s that time of the year when you are not sure whether it’s your child who is preparing for exams or you are going through school again. All those nightmares you had as a child of sitting in the exam room and not remembering a thing have come back to haunt you again. What you learnt in school is definitely still there tucked away in some corner of your brain. It surfaces now and again….not to solve complicated algebra equations in a jiffy but rather in mundane daily chores like calculating where the sun will be the strongest in your balcony as you hang out the laundry (geography, geometry)! How much money to leave behind with the help for those multiple Amazon prime deliveries you ordered last night (mental math)….
But at exam time it is really all about calculating the square root of 35742, the difference between Subsistence farming and Intensive farming or what a Potometer is used for?
Helping your child prepare for exams is often a family exercise. You curtail your outings to be around for the child - Emotionally and literally. Younger siblings are hushed into quieter activities. Entertaining at home comes to a stand still to avoid all distractions. You stop going for movies in solidarity towards your child.
Does it sometimes not feel enough? What more can you do? I remember my mom during my exam days. I was an easy child (as I keep reminding my mom and my own kids). I studied without being nagged, I set targets for myself daily, I paid attention during maths and accounting tuitions and I kept neat notes.
Still, I remember clearly my mom’s contributions during exam time.
- She made sure sure all meals were light so I didn’t nod off to sleep on a belly full of rajma chawal or Biryani.
- I got my daily dose of memory enhancing foods - almonds, fish, eggs, fruits.
- She made sure I ate yogurt daily to keep my stomach healthy. Nothing worse than getting the runs due to stress or poor eating habits.
- She made sure I slept minimum 8 hours. No point spending hours studying when you are ready to fall asleep on the exam paper.
- Stationary items and other school supplies were always in double and labelled with my name stickers. No un-necessary panic in last minute trips to the stationary shops at odd hours or fighting with siblings over what’s mine and what’s yours!!
- She called couple of times a day from work, checking up on me - not to breathe down my neck but to check whether I had eaten, taken a break, showered, had milk! Subtle and not so subtle mothering that makes you feel loved and comforted.
- Above all, she kept an air of calm at home. Striking a fine balance between giving me the sense of importance (which as a student you feel entitled to - what in life could be more important for anyone than YOUR exams you wonder at that age) and a sense of casualness which allowed to me to de-stress every now and then and stay focussed.
As my own children fall into the exam preparation routine at this time of the year, I find myself echoing my mother’s habits and appreciating all the little things she did that went a long way in helping me study.
What are your special routines during exam time for your kids? What is your secret mantra? Write in and tell us.