Seven ways to maximise quality time with your child while supporting their learning and wellbeing

Are you worried about not spending enough time with your kids during revision or exams? Here’s how to spend time with them and support their academic development

Mother and son watching TV
(Image credit: Tom Watkins)

As exam time draws near, many parents worry about their child’s emotional well-being amidst the pressure, yet many of us feel helpless about how to support them academically or psychologically. If you’ve encouraged your child to disappear into their room to revise or study and then wondered where all that quality time as a family goes, you’re not alone.

According to The National Parent Survey, which provides educators and government policy makers with insight into the views of parents, over a third of secondary-school-age students report exam or homework-related stress, and this is one of the main concerns of parents in regards to their children’s wellbeing.

But there is a way through all this. As GoodtoKnow writer Jayne Cherrington Cook says in this video, you can spend quality time with your child during exam season at the same time as supporting their learning outside school, harnessing online resources to help them through exams, and giving them the emotional tools they need to reduce exam anxiety and stress. Here’s how…

How can I support my child with their learning outside school?

It’s easy to dismiss technology and online resources as just another distraction from homework or revision. But the truth is, there are a wealth of valuable tech-based tools that can genuinely help students with revision and even reduce exam stress.

The trick is finding it and building it into yours and your child’s everyday routine to become part of family life. Here are seven tips for doing just that:

1. Use tech to get organised and stay focused

Between homework, extracurricular activities, and kids just being kids, it's natural for students to feel a little overwhelmed during exam season. Good time management is key to revision success and tech tools such as digital cue cards and calendars can be a big help. Mapping out exactly what needs to be revised and slotting it into a manageable revision timetable can help students feel more in control of their schedule, boosting their confidence and eliminating some stress along the way. Remember, too, that having a specific place for study in the home can help students to build good habits, so try to create somewhere quiet and distraction-free for revision.

2. Gamify learning to make it fun

It’s well-documented that having fun is key to effective learning. For example, one study found that students whose lecturers used humour during classes scored higher in their final assessments. With so many students enjoying gaming as a pastime, it’s never been easier to make learning fun. There are literally hundreds of apps and resources online that can help students to remember key facts and figures through gaming, many of which have been specifically designed to appeal to secondary school students. For example, DuoLingo offers points, streaks, and leaderboards while helping your child learn a new language. Kahoot is another platform that turns educational content into interactive quizzes and games, encouraging active participation that’s as enjoyable as it is educational.

3. Lean on EE to learn

Micro-learning improves focus and knowledge retention by 50%, and EE's Learn Smart platform is packed with bite-sized content that your child or teen will love. You’ll find loads of school-based activities and resources to support your child’s learning, from Mad Science to Infinity Maths and more - your child can even use the platform to brush up on their coding skills or create digital cue cards

4. Prioritise wellness and self-care

It’s so important for students to develop the skills to look after their wellbeing, especially during exam season. There are plenty of ways that parents can help, from stashing the kitchen cupboard with healthy snacks to encouraging regular tea breaks. But tech can help with this too - EE has partnered with Calm, which offers science-backed audio content that strengthens mental fitness, including guided meditations, breathing exercises, and stress and anxiety relief tools. It’s free for 14 days, too. The EE Learn Smart platform is also packed with resources to help your child in and out of school,  including celebrity-hosted videos to combat anxiety, putting a digital toolkit for thriving academically, mentally, and socially in your child’s hands. 

5. Take regular breaks and get active

Taking breaks from study and incorporating physical exercise into your child’s routine is essential for minimising the effects of exam stress. Movement helps students to manage anxiety, sleep better, and even learn more effectively. Aim to refresh and re-energise your child by taking a break every hour and doing something active together, like walks, stretches, or home workouts. You can find lots of quick five-minute workouts online or pick a fun activity to bond over, like a hula hooping challenge or a basketball session.

Computer screen showing the EE educational support website

(Image credit: Tom Watkins)

6. Discover educational content on YouTube

It may come as a surprise, but YouTube is packed with quality channels and educational vlogs. Look for engaging creators who explain concepts clearly and concisely, and encourage active learning by taking summary notes while watching to boost retention. You could even watch together and quiz each other afterwards.

7. Watch an educational documentary together

For humanities subjects like history, English, sociology or drama, take your bonding time to the next level by watching relevant documentaries or even films and TV programmes together. You'll both expand your knowledge while spending quality time on the sofa - just make sure you research historically accurate movies and shows!

Joanne Lewsley

Joanne Lewsley is a freelance copywriter and editor who creates parenting, health and lifestyle content for evidence-based websites, including BabyCentre, Live Science, Medical News Today and more.