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Tips to improve your child's grades

Tips to improve your child's grades!

Wouldn’t we all like our child to come home with a good report card? We cringe when we see certain subjects graded as D’s, E’s or Fs! Let’s look at a few of the reasons behind a bad grade and what you as a parent can do to help your child ace his or her exams.

1. Tests make them anxious and nervous

Parents will tell me often, “My child knows the work, she becomes nervous when she has to write the exam.” Being nervous even if you are well prepared for an exam is quite common in junior school and high school children as well as with college and university students. It’s quite normal to feel “butterfies” before writing a test or exam, and that nervous energy can sometimes help you to perform better. However, when feelings of anxiety, worry, and self-doubt interfere with your ability to take an exam, it is called test anxiety. What happens is that when your child looks at the exam paper, his or her mind goes go blank and all that work is forgotten. Some children will develop physical symptoms such as feeling shaky, sweating, stomach ache, diarrhea or tension ache.

Helpful Tip: Being prepared for an exam is VERY IMPORTANT! Waiting until the night before to cram doesn't help – if children start studying way before the time and revise their work, they’ll feel more confident and prepared. Encourage positive thinking– replace negative thoughts “ I’m going to do badly” with positive messages such as “I know the work and will do well”.  Practicing relaxation techniques such as breathing slowly and deeply before writing, closing your eyes and thinking calming and relaxing thoughts. In our Feelgood Health range, we have a natural remedy which can help your child handle exam nerves more smoothly! Use A+ Test Calmer to calm nerves and promote confidence and alertness during exams.
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2. They can’t focus and concentrate in class

“James really struggles to focus and concentrate in class which is definitely affecting his overall work performance”. If you’ve received a similar comment on your child’s report, you are not ALONE! Nowadays, so many children experience difficulty concentrating. If a child is inattentive, there’s usually a good reason why. Your child may be bored, lack sleep or be going through emotional problems, anxiety or depression due to problems like parents getting divorced, a death in the family, being bullied at school, a relationship break-up or drug addiction. A learning disability such as dyslexia, ADD or ADHD may also be affecting the child’s ability to do well in exams. Some children are also “slow learners” – they learn the work but at slower pace than typical learners.

Helpful Tip: The first thing to do is to have an open discussion with your child’s teacher to gain understanding about the extent of the problem. If your child is going through an emotionally difficult time, then it’s best to address the issue rather than ignore the problem. Depending on the nature of the problem, therapy or chatting with a school counselor can help.  Children who are struggling with depression or anxiety would benefit from the help of a natural anti-depressant especially formulated in child-safe dosage – like the 100% herbal remedy MindSoothe Jr by Feelgood Health.

Some children are more easily distracted than others, but you can help to improve their concentration levels. Play memory and concentration games such as card games which are quick and fun. Crossword puzzles and building picture puzzles also improve attention and concentration. If your child has been struggling to concentrate for a while now and you’ve tried various concentration building techniques with no success, it may be a good idea to have him or her assessed by an educational or clinical psychologist for a more concrete diagnosis.

Natural solutions such as Focus Formula and BrightSpark are available to improve concentration, memory and attentiveness. These herbal and homeopathic remedies are also very effective for children, teens and adults who have been diagnosed with ADD and ADHD.
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3. They are restless, cannot sit still or stop talking in class!

Teachers will often complain that younger children, especially those in Grade 1, 2 or 3 are restless, fidgety or excitable. Young children do have relatively short attention spans especially when you are competing in a world of Wii, Iphones and Ipads! Not every 7 or 8 year old who is restless or fidgety is automatically ADHD! Often children who misbehave or fidget are bored and not stimulated creatively enough. They may also high levels of energy which needs to be released after too much TV or high levels of sugar or additives in their diet.
Helpful Tip: Research suggests that the average child’s level of concentration can be calculated by converting the child’s age into minutes – so, a 7 year old will be able to concentrate on a task for 7 minutes. If your child is disrupting the class, speak to him or her about the behaviour. Explain how his or her talking in class or moving around is interfering with his classmates ability to learn – giving your child a good reason sometimes makes the world of difference! Get rid of excess energy by letting your kids participate in sport or dance activities – physical activity releases pent up energy. Children who are impulsive, “very busy” and can’t concentrate on any tasks may also benefit from the help of  BrightSpark – our 100% homeopathic remedy for hyperactivity and distracted and restless young minds.
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4. Struggling with all the pressure

Children are under immense pressure with their schoolwork load, extracurricular activities, hectic social lives, parental expectation and their need to succeed. All this pressure can quickly manifest into anxiety thereby affecting the child’s performance. I recently spoke to a parent of a Grade 1 learner who is so anxious because he isn’t getting a “7” for any of his subjects on his report card. While doing well is important, it shouldn’t become your child’s be and end all.
Helpful Tip: Try not to apply too much pressure on young children, especially if they already place too much pressure on themselves. Reassure your child constantly that he or she will do better in the next exam. Keep their emotions balanced with our MindSoothe Jr for younger children and MindSoothe for teens and young adults. Keep PureCalm on hand – a wonderfully soothing remedy to reduce stress and anxiety when needed the most! 
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5.  They haven’t put in enough effort

It’s hard to hear that your “little darling” hasn’t put in enough effort, isn’t it? If your child’s grades have taken a dip because Daniel spends too much time playing games or Gemma’s constantly on FaceBook and Twitter, then you need to take action! Teenagers in particular may show disinterest in their schoolwork and studying hard for exams is seen as “uncool”. They often procrastinate and leave things  too late and are then filled with remorse when they don’t make it to the next grade.
Helpful Tip: Have a serious chat with your child about the pros and cons of not doing well in exams. It’s ultimatum time! Remove their  distractions – no cell phone usage, games, TV or socialising with friends during study time! Their “little pleasures” will be returned on condition that they improve their grades.  A natural study aid for exam time is our StudyPlus for adults and teenagers - which helps to maintain focus and mental alertness and improve memory for more effective studying.
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