VCE – Coping with the Countdown

Parents and caregivers are integral in supporting their child through this final period of VCE. It can be a tricky time though, walking the fine line between being a quiet supporter versus providing the right amount of active involvement.  The most effective ways a parent/caregiver can offer support are the practical, physical things and to keep a close eye on their son or daughter’s mental/emotional health.

Here are some tips:-
• Encourage healthy and regular eating – breakfast is vital, limit junk food/sugar/caffeine/alcohol/drugs of any sort including prescription or non-prescription medication.
• Encourage daily exercise – half hour minimum.
• Encourage adequate water intake – aim for 2 litres per day (tap water is fine).
• Encourage adequate sleep – 8-9 hours, no late night study – it doesn’t work!
Health – Mental/Emotional
• Guide, support and encourage your son or daughter.  Don’t nag and tell them they will fail if they don’t work harder.
• Take their efforts seriously. Encourage them to believe in themselves and their ability to do their best.
• Let them know you are there when they need you and encourage them to communicate, in particular if they are feeling overwhelmed and/or struggling.
• Keep an eye on their mental health – look for changes in mood, sleeping/eating patterns and/or behaviour.  If concerned speak to the school’s VCE Co-ordinator, teacher or member of the Wellbeing Team or your family doctor.
• Help them keep perspective.  Encourage them to do their best but don’t overwhelm them with pressure, expectations or negative comments. Aim for encouragement, praise, support and realistic expectations of their academic performance.
• Remember, people often become supersensitive under pressure and explosive-family members may be the first target. Try not to overreact or personalise!
Study specific
• Set up a study friendly area – quiet, well lit and free from distractions.
• Encourage regular study breaks – stretch, grab a snack, fresh air/power walk.
Other tips
• Encourage your son /daughter to limit gaming/social media time.
• It is still important for your son/daughter to have some relaxation and rest time.
• Encourage your son/daughter to avoid or limit part time work at this time of the year.
• Limit where possible other responsibilities including domestic chores and babysitting.

Helpful websites

Support if concerned
–  Gleneagles Secondary College, VCE staff
– Gleneagles Secondary College, Wellbeing staff
– Kids Helpline – 1800 551 800 (24 hours, 7 days per week)
– eHeadspace – OR call 1800 650 890 (9am to 1am, 7 days per week)
On behalf of the Wellbeing Team, I wish VCE students all the best for their upcoming exams and life beyond secondary school.
Anne Clancy – Adolescent Health Nurse (Tuesday and Friday)

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