One aim when working with your child towards the eleven plus is to try to help your child to feel better about him or her self. You want your child to have a positive self image and feel as good and as happy as you can. When you tell your child: “Of course you will pass,” you could be putting unnecessary pressure on your child. This extra pressure in turn could turn to stress.
Make sure that you get your proper sleep every night. If you have a heavy workload it will not do your children much good if you are tired and irritable. In the same way try to help your child to have a much regular sleep as possible. Remember that sleep deprivation is used to try to break suspects down – so don’t allow yourself, or your child, to fall victim to lack of sleep.
Another thing is try to have at least some time in the week where neither you nor your child mention the words eleven plus and examination. If your child has a sensible study schedule you will have built breaks into the system. You will also have built time for yourself. We have seen situations where parents put themselves under a lot of pressure and stop thinking about them selves.
If you set out to build an `out of school’ lifestyle for your child around that revolves around work, exercise and hobbies then try to take your own advice. This is not a plea for every aspiring eleven plus mother to take up marathon running, but is a suggestion that you try to build a life for yourself where you do not sacrifice yourself for your children. We met a mum last year who was taking the whole family to Disney Land, in America, for a month. She mapped out eleven plus work for her son to do every day – Jet Lag days included. She took papers, answer books and exercises. Every day before the family went to the park she sat with her son doing papers. A truly inspiring mother. Poor child!
Some parents start putting extra pressure on them selves and their children as the examinations approach. They appear to be demanding extra papers and extra work. We had a mother last year you did a NFER mathematics paper with her son – and the poor boy only reached 58% on the paper. In the very next lesson she wanted us to go over at least twenty topics. The actual examination was still around eight weeks away – and it was his first timed NFER paper – but the mum wanted results – and she wanted them NOW!
For the duration of the eleven plus be very careful with any friends who send out negative vibes. You don’t need negative thoughts in your head that you want transfer to your child. Think about some positive words you could employ.
Use words like: “Let us see what we can do together.”
Try not to use the words: “I told you how to do that last week. How will you every pass your examination if keep making mistakes like that?”