SPARE a thought for all the pupils going back to school this
year to their first day of that dreaded event, Grade 12.
If you have such a person in your life, here are 9 ways
of supporting him or her as they tackle that high stakes, exam-ridden last year
1. Be patient and
understanding by providing your 12th grader with silence, private space and
support while s/he studies. It is a good time to encourage silent reading in
the family in support of the matric student. Family arguments should be taken
outside – avoid sources of additional stress, like conflict, as much as
2. Have loads of healthy ”brain food” snacks around the
house for her or him to munch on such as bananas, chocolate, fresh fruit and
vegetables, watermelon, wholegrain bread and cereals, unsalted nuts and fresh
3. Invite your student to exercise with you during study breaks.
Walk the dog or encourage your teen to join in a family dance/sing-along.
4. Take the pressure off as much as you can. Students
tackling matric need support, patience and understanding. If there’s a
difficult problem needing to be solved, help him or her brainstorm a solution.
One of the messages you should reinforce is: even if he or she fails the exams
despite their best efforts, it is not the end of the world. There is life after
5. Be aware of signs of depression, negative self talk,
feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, changes in your student’s
personality, and behaviour such as withdrawing.
If you’re worried, contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Group
on 0800 20 50 26 or the suicide hotline on 0800 567 567.
6. Sleep is vitally important for a student to be able to
concentrate in an exam, so spending nights studying is not going to help.
Encourage your student to get eight hours of sleep.
7. Teach your 12th grader the power of positive thinking
and visualisations. Positive self- talk and creativity may help him or her through
a difficult paper.
8. Provide practical support in the form of tutors, study
guides, study groups, and assistance from teachers. Even at the last minute a
session with a good tutor or teacher can be the deciding factor.
9. Remember to celebrate even the smallest success with
your matric candidate, looking forward with optimism and enthusiasm.
Good luck to you all!