How to Help Kids Overcome the PSLE Fever

A healthier view of this dreaded exam

By June Yong | 26 September, 2018

PSLE – This four-letter word has become almost synonymous with stress.

If your child is taking the PSLE this week, you’re probably also feeling the jitters. You spend your free time thinking about what more you can do to help your child. You almost wish you could walk into the exam hall with them.

What can you do to help mitigate some of the stress they may be under?

Two PSLE mums, Joanna Koh-Hoe, CEO of Focus Singapore, and Lina Ng, actress and homemaker, went on radio to talk about this hot topic with their sons. Here are some of the key lessons gleaned from the interview.

1. Set realistic goals

As parents, it’s all too easy to stress our kids out or let our own anxieties spill over onto them.

But sometimes the stress may also come from within the child himself. As Lina described, “As a parent, we don't want to go through all that stress as well. We want to chill…but sometimes the kids themselves have their ideal school, and then as parents you feel like you need to help them to attain the scores to enter that school. So I think I pushed my firstborn a little bit more – getting him to be a benchmark for the rest of the siblings.”

While we can support our children in their desire for certain schools, we can also help them to see that it’s not the end of the world if they don’t get their first choice.

While we can support our children in their desire for certain schools, we can also help them to see that it’s not the end of the world if they don’t get their first choice.

Help them to be more open-minded about the choice of schools. It may be beneficial to talk about the pros and cons of each school, and to shortlist a few schools covering a range of cut-off points.

2. Adopt a broader view of PSLE

Joanna emphasises the importance of having a clear perspective of the PSLE, as our attitudes will rub off on our kids.

Her key messages to Tobias, her son, were that “PSLE is just another exam,” and, “Do your best and leave the rest to God.”

Interestingly, her family developed an alternative acronym for PSLE. P stands for Purpose – to discover how he’s wired. S is for Self-discipline – learning to be diligent, hard-working, and self-motivated. L is for Learning – both in terms of mastering the subjects and enjoying the process of learning. And E is to have a spirit of excellence.

3. Know how your child is wired

As Joanna raised, “Today there are so many different pathways, it can get confusing.” It is thus crucial for us as parents to know our children’s personalities and strengths well so that we can help them make those choices carefully.

It is crucial for us as parents to know our children’s personalities and strengths well.

We should not be asking, which school is the best school any more, but rather, which pathways are most suitable for my child’s unique makeup, and what sort of learning environment would he thrive in?

Having a strong relationship with our children will help in this regard. As Lina shared, we need to create a space for them to feel safe to share their own thoughts and views with us.

Parenting with Confidence Want to raise a resourceful and confident child? Get equipped with the necessary parenting skills at Parenting with Confidence, with age-appropriate strategies! Find out more at www.family.org.sg/PWC

4. Manage our children’s expectations

 

Most children will want to perform well but it can be hard when their personalities are slightly more laid-back. As Joanna explained, “Tobias tends to get anxious because he still wants to perform well and so we had conversations about managing, not just my expectations, but also his.”

Similar to setting realistic goals, we need to help our children see that things may sometimes turn out differently from what we hoped, but that we can still move on and keep striving for success in our own individual paths.

5. Think long-term

Joanna’s advice for parents is to take a step back and think from the longer-term perspective. She draws from her own life example, “Between my husband and I, actually I was the one who’s more academically-driven, but today if you look at us, I don't think it really makes much difference how we fared in our PSLE.”

She added, “The way I see Tobias, he’s really trying to live out his childhood and I think that's great, because when I think about it, you know the PSLE is really just another exam, but his childhood – he’ll only have it once in his life.

PSLE is really just another exam, but his childhood - he’ll only have it once in his life.


© 2018 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.

Want to raise a resourceful and confident child? Get equipped with the necessary parenting skills at Parenting with Confidence, with age-appropriate strategies! Find out more at www.family.org.sg/PWC

 

 

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