The words of advice you pass on to your child as the examination approaches may need to be repeated. Start dripping the advice now – and hope that some it sinks in!
Explain why there is no substitute for sleep – and why you need sleep before an examination (SBE). Some of the family may not feel all that involved in the Eleven Plus examinations and may want to begin a new `agenda’. Somehow you will need to explain that peace and quiet – along with a normal routine – is an essential part of Eleven Plus preparation.
Some of the family also may want to be drinking fizzy drinks and eating junk food. Try to keep the peace – but try to ensure that what the candidate consumes is `legal and appropriate’. You will want your `much loved candidate’ (MLC), to eat pasta, rice or potatoes. There should, however, be no pizza and no treats. Make the point that the Eleven Plus preparation will have gone on for months before the real examination and there is no need to spoil everything by poor last minute eating and drinking habits. (NJF means no junk food!) Hamburgers, some nuggets, spicy foods and large servings are all to be avoided if possible. Some children may need to be very careful with dairy products.
Breakfast on the morning of the examination may be the most difficult meal. Naturally you want your child to eat a reasonably substantial meal – so that there are no hunger and fear pangs. Porridge, toast, cereal and juice are all good options.
Sitting the actual Eleven Plus examination may generate a fear and adrenalin so some parents may need to try to make sure that they have supplied an `after examination’ snack and drink.
And then that `Night Before Walk’ (KBW) needs to remembered. This is the gentle family walk where all concerned go for a little walk together. Only allow a simple family chat. If possible, there should be no discussion of the outcomes of the examination or the possible contents of papers. Where possible, apart from shouting at the dog, the discussion should be quiet and contemplative.
If you can maintain an interest in food and sleep you will be able to offer your child what he or she needs without any radical deviation from the `normal’.
Parents, therefore, need to remember MLC, NJF and KBW.