It’s that time again: time for the dreaded E-word we all hate to hear… EXAMS!
School kids are kicking off another round of exams soon. We know how that can be stressful on young minds, and as parents we know you want to help. It is tough to know where to start so we’ve decided to give you a few exam tips, healthy eating tips, ideas for brain food for studying and a few other lifestyle tips to help your children focus and study well.
Avoid cramming the night before. Studies show that we only really retain information in the long term by deep learning. This deep learning does not happen when we cram. Cramming puts too much strain on the brain.
Encourage your kids to study and prepare ahead of time. It’s not always possible, but as encourage them to plan ahead whenever they can. The rewards will be good grades, less anxiety and a much better understanding or comprehension of the subject matter.
Get up early
Another valuable exam tip is for you and your kids to wake up early enough to avoid the morning rush on the morning of their exams. The usual morning rush increases their heart rate, and reduces their focus on top of their other stresses.
Physical activity while studying is a must. Encourage your kids to take regular walks around the block, the garden or the complex you live in. The visual, physical and mental break is very important while studying.
They can also do a few stretches every 45 minutes or so. Exercise improves vitality, energy levels, positive thinking and all round well-being, which is a great recipe to combat the task of studying. This is the perfect time to get goofy with your kids. Stretch or walk with them and have a moment of fun amidst a tough day.
Sleep enough during exams. Their bodies rejuvenate and create long term memory while they sleep. Encourage your kids to have a healthy sleep routine of at least eight hours per night. Young brains and bodies need to be well rested to function at optimal levels. Don’t skimp on the sleep if at all possible.
Healthy eating tips:
Kids can rest and exercise all they want, but without the right fuel they aren’t going to get very far! You need to make sure your children are eating foods with high nutritional value during exams. They should eat regularly in smaller portions as opposed to big meals – we all know that those big meals make us feel sluggish and sleepy.
There’s a great Afrikaans saying: Maagie vol oegies toe. It’s a real thing.
Here are some helpful tips for healthy snacking:
- Breakfast: Start with a healthy breakfast full of B-vitamins, fibre and energy like oats and a banana or peanut butter and banana on health toast. Muesli and yoghurt is another really good option here.
- Snack: Keep healthy brain food on hand for study snacks. Include cashew nuts, pecan nuts, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds for in-between meals. Dried fruit is also good for slow-release energy, like dried mango or cranberries. Dark chocolate is magic for boosting their moods during stressful exam periods.
- Lunch: A medium-sized lunch that includes steamed green veggies, like broccoli, spinach and green beans, (even if you coat them in white sauce) is great. Kids need the nutritional value of these green vegetables. Red veggies like red peppers, cherry tomatoes and red onions are a source of antioxidants and vitamins to further help young brains and bodies function at their best. Add a little healthy protein and your kids will have a great combo to keep going. If you are lucky enough to have children who eat fish, throw in some hake to top up on those Omega 3 Fatty Acids which are excellent for brain function. Oily fish is usually higher in these.
- Fruit: Keep fresh fruit and raw vegetables on hand for those in-between snack moments. Peanuts and raisins never fail and are super nutritious too.
- Dinner: Eat dinner as a family as usual. A balanced meal consisting of one quarter protein, one quarter starch and a half portion of vegetables is always recommended.
- Smoothies: If your child doesn’t have an appetite when they are stressed, make them awesome smoothies. Add yoghurt, fruit, nuts, water or ice, raw cocoa powder and chia seeds to your smoothies. You can get really creative with these. If your child needs extra nutrition due to lack of appetite, add a big scoop of meal supplement powder. They will love this!
All in all, with a lot of love and willingness and a little motivation and creativity you can really help your child be prepared for and get through exams happy and healthy.
Visit your nearest Montagu to stock up on all your child’s favourite snacks.