What To Do If Your Child Is Having A Hard Time Preparing For The 11+

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By Luciana Oliveira

It is always exceptionally difficult for a parent when they realise that there is an area where their children are struggling in their schoolwork. It can feel like a problem without a simple solution. This is not a lost toy, a temper tantrum or an allergy. This is not something where you can buy a replacement, help them to calm down, or adjust a meal plan. This is something that needs to be handled more delicately, where there may not be a quick solution. It can be particularly concerning when they have exams coming up, such as the 11+. You know how important these exams are, and how disruptive home-schooling has been for a lot of children, but you don’t want to put too much pressure on them to succeed. 

However, with all that being said, there are plenty of things that you can do to help your child if they are having a hard time with their studies. This is both a problem that you can work through together, and where you can take independent action to make things a little easier for them. If your child is having a hard time preparing for an exam, then here are a few things that you can try. 

Don’t Panic

The most important thing to remember is that this is not something that you can resolve by panicking and rushing to find a solution. Children are incredibly sensitive to anxiety and stress, and the more that you depict this issue as something that you are worried about, the more worried they will become about it in turn. There are ways that you can help, but the emotions and mood that you give off while you are doing so will have a tremendous impact on your child. 

Talk To Them 

When your child becomes aware that they are struggling in a certain subject, they might start to throw up a wall around it. Even if it is just one particular idea that they are having a hard time with, that sense of “I don’t understand it and I can’t do it” might start to spread to the rest of the subject, and other classes too. 

One of the most helpful things that you can do as a parent is to help them understand what the problem is exactly. Is it just that they can’t get their head around a specific type of maths equation, for example? Or is that they are struggling with the subject as a whole? Once you have a better idea of what they are finding difficult, it will put everything into perspective.

Talk About Their Teachers, And Talk To Their Teachers

Going to the teacher can sometimes be a bit of a tricky route, especially if your child is sensitive about that class. One of the reasons why your child may be having a hard time with a particular subject is because they either don’t connect with the teacher’s methods, or they don’t like them. Of course, this is not a given, far from it, but it might be a good idea to ask your child how they feel about their teacher. It may simply be that they feel like the class is going too quickly and they feel bad about putting their hand up to ask if that demonstration can be repeated. Talking to your child’s teacher won’t necessarily fix the issue, but it never hurts to tell your educators that this is something they need to be aware of.

Consider Hiring A Tutor With 11+ Exam Teaching Experience

As we mentioned, it can be very hard to find the right balance between pressuring your kid to work harder and supporting them through a tricky academic period. The 11+ exams play a big role in the kind of school your child may get into and the kind of opportunities that they will have, and an age at which applying too much pressure and stress could have seriously damaging results.

This is where a private tutor can be particularly effective. We all know that it is so often about working smarter rather than working harder. The 11+ exams have specific requirements, and your child may need help getting up to speed with the subjects that they prioritise. A tutor will focus on the subjects that your child needs to get to grips with for these exams and they will go at your child’s pace, rather than going over what they already understand over and over again. They are experienced in breaking down these subjects and ideas to make them comprehensible and engaging. So, instead of encouraging them to hit the textbooks time and time again, look for a private tutor who can show them how to approach the subject from a new angle. If you want to give your child a boost before these tough exams, then 11+ tutoring may be a good option. Test Teach offers online and offline classes and they have helped thousands of students to get a place at independent and grammar schools.

Remember That It Might Not Be All About The Studying

When we find ourselves in a situation where our children are having a hard time studying, we rush for solutions relating to the studying itself. Are they doing enough homework? Should we ask that they be moved to a different class? But one of the most important things to remember is that there are plenty of factors outside of the classroom and outside of their homework time that could be having a real impact. We don’t need to tell you about how difficult the last eighteen months have been for kids, and there have been plenty of reports about how the impact on their mental health is still being felt. Keep talking to your children about how they are feeling about the pandemic and remember that these are incredibly uncertain and chaotic times that we are living through.

And it’s not all about the pandemic. One of the best ways that you can get your child ready to study for exam prep is by making sure that they are getting enough sleep, that they are getting enough exercise, and that they are eating a healthy, balanced diet. Avoid sugar to avoid those big crashes. Using these tips and being proactive, you can give your child the best chance of passing the 11+ and getting into the school they’ve always wanted to attend.

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Luciana joined our team as a mum blogger in 2020. A dedicated mum to a lively daughter and a dog, Luna, Luciana brings authenticity and passion to every post. Her expertise in parenting and lifestyle topics offers practical, relatable advice for real-life situations.

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