Be A Coach and Cheerleader for Your Child During Exam Season
The Straits Times
Republished with Permission
20 September 2021
Ms June Yong, 41, envisions herself putting on the "coaching hat" to reassure her 12-year-old daughter, Vera, in the final week before the PSLE.
She will tell Vera it is normal to feel anxious before an exam; that she can get through it just like she did her prelims (preliminary exams); and remind her, even if she encounters a difficult question, to focus on her breathing and calm down before attempting it.
Besides settling any pre-exam jitters, she wants to remind Vera of her unwavering support.
"Above all, don't forget to let your children know that their worth as a person far exceeds what a single examination can measure, and that you are behind them every step of the way," says Ms Yong, a family life specialist at the charity, Focus on the Family Singapore.
Ms Yong's approach in the last stretch before the PSLE has been more about building on the good work they have done not only academically, but also in terms of mental preparation and emotional support.
For most of this year, she has been guiding Vera in her exam preparation.
She says: "My role morphed slightly to that of a coach, rather than a tutor. When she has fears or worries, I try to talk her through them, neither dismissing nor overplaying them. We also make time for her when she asks questions about her future, from secondary school options to career choices."
Around the time of semester assessments in March, Ms Yong found that her daughter seemed stressed about her grades.
"I became conscious of her need to express her worries and I listened to her and became more intentional in spending time with her.
"I thought at the time that there was this real need to minimise the weight of PSLE on her shoulders. I wanted to put it in context: It is one of many exams and its score is not going to be a deal-breaker for future jobs," says Ms Yong, adding that her daughter gained a healthier perspective as a result.
At this late stage before the PSLE, she says it helps to validate the child's months of preparation and revision, as well as to remind him or her that "no matter what results we get, as long as we put in our best effort, we can be proud of our achievement".