The best ways for parents to prepare their kids for exam season

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It’s exam season. Are your kids ready? And are you providing your kids with everything they need to perform at their very best?

Parents want the best for their children. This exam season, that means supporting your child through all the studying, reviewing previous exams, and staying up late. He needs to be at the top of his game, and proper nutrition is key. The nutrition you give your child can have a huge impact!

The Role of Nutrition

 When it comes to your child’s academic performance, nutrition is the foundation of everything. As a parent, it’s job number one!

So what can you do to power your child’s mind and body? For starters, feed him a healthy breakfast of Milo and an egg sandwich. And even if you don’t have time in the morning, you can always place a packet of Milo in his school bag to ensure he has the right nutrition and enough energy for his hectic school day. But there’s so much more you can do…

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To shed some light on the matter, we spoke to Yvonne Ban, Accredited Practising Dietician and Lecturer at SP’s Diploma in Nutrition, Health & Wellness course.

Ban says that macronutrients such as protein together with micronutrients (iron, zinc, iodine) play an important part in the brain development of a child under three years.

And now that your child is school age, nutrition still has a role in his school performance. “Breakfast may affect cognitive performance indirectly through improving mood, alertness and motivation,” Ban tells us.

In tandem with nutrition, your parenting style plays a crucial role in helping your child’s school performance. With these top tips, you can put your child on the right track to academic excellence.

Top Tips to Help Your Child Ace Those Exams

1. Avoid the Over-Parenting Trap

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Before your child can succeed, he needs to fail. In fact, failure – and learning to overcome failure – can teach him important life lessons. But he will not learn these lessons with a helicopter parent hovering over his every move.

According to Jessica Lahey, middle school teacher and author of The Gift of Failure, “Kids are anxious, afraid and risk-averse because parents are more focused on keeping their children safe, content and happy in the moment than on parenting for competence.”

Tips to ace those exams: Resist the temptation to do your child’s work. Let him make mistakes, but constantly guide him. Your goal is to teach him how to get to the right answer – not perfect marks. Mums, remember, only when we parents learn to let go will our children learn to fly.

2. Balance Your Child’s Schedule

Kids today have incredibly busy schedules. After school, they have tutoring, soccer practice, piano lessons, and more. As a result, young children today are often exhausted. They need more unstructured play outdoors, and time to just be a kid.

Remember, mums and dads, your child’s mind needs to rest to be at its sharpest. And play is one of the most effective ways that children learn.

According to Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child, “The ingredients of play are precisely the ones that fuel learning: in addition to promoting a state of low anxiety, play provides opportunities for novel experiences, active engagement, and learning from peers and adults.”

Tips to ace those exams: You know your child best. Watch him or her for signs of fatigue. Know when to apply pressure and when to relax. Ensure he maintains discipline in studying, but also take it easy on your child.

3. Always Provide a Nutritious Breakfast

Most of your child’s energy is depleted during sleep. Yes, the morning rush can be overwhelming, but make sure to provide a healthy and nutritious breakfast. It truly is the most important meal of the day.

“After an 8-hour sleep, it is essential for us to replenish adequate nutrients in order to perform better in school or at work,” nutritionist Yvonne Ban says.

Ban recommends providing a carbohydrate-based breakfast (bread, noodles, cereal), adding sources of protein to help increase satiety throughout the day. “Low G.I. [glycemic index] fruits, such as apples, pears, grapes and strawberries, are also easily prepared, and you can easily consume them on the way to school or work.”

Tips to ace those exams: Sometimes, children may not have an appetite for breakfast early in the morning. So, during the mad rush to get to school on time, place a packet of Milo in their bag and they can drink it in school. It’s a healthier choice that contains, milk, malt, vitamins and minerals, and it’s lower in sugar, perfect for refuelling and giving your child the energy he needs.

4. Encourage Proper Eating Habits

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Did you know that a school day requires as much energy as swimming 50 laps? Not providing enough nutrition throughout the day can have adverse effects on your child’s school performance. Make sure you are neither underfeeding nor overfeeding your child. Overfeeding your child can warp his attitudes towards food, leading to health problems later on in life.

Tips to ace those exams: In the case of overfeeding, a healthy breakfast is once again, key. Providing a breakfast rich in protein can help your child feel more sated and avoid overeating throughout the day.

Meanwhile, if your child has a low appetite or is a picky eater, it’s time to get creative. Giving your child Milo can help him meet his nutritional needs. He may put up a fight finishing his eggs. But drinking Milo, thanks to its delicious taste, should be no problem at all, giving him a healthy dose of calcium, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Pull out all the clever tricks you have. Hide vegetables in sandwiches. Mix up his favourites with food he might avoid. Put Milo in his cereal, oats, wholemeal bread or wholemeal biscuits. It may be just what your kid needs to eat a healthy breakfast.

5. Make Sure Your Child Gets Regular Exercise

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With the constant temptations of the iPad and the TV and the PS4 (and those endless classes and tutoring), your child is probably always indoors, on the sofa. But getting active makes him stronger. Regular exercise has these benefits:

  • Makes your child feel more energetic.
  • Improves his fitness and stamina.
  • Helps build strong bones, and tones muscles.
  • Helps your child maintain a healthy weight.
  • Relieves stress.
  • Improves concentration at school.

And while evidence on the effects of exercise and overall academic performance is, so far, inconclusive, “there is strong evidence on the beneficial aspects of physical activity on math performance.”

 Tips to ace those exams: Yes, you read that right: Physical activity may boost his math abilities! So let him run and play and kick that ball around. When he comes back, a refreshing glass of Milo is perfect to restore those nutrients that he just spent.

The HPB advises giving your child 60 minutes of exercise, five days a week. Even after exam season, regular exercise will boost his energy levels and help virtually aspect of his growth and development!

Give Your Child Milo Every Day

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Milo believes in your active child. Just like you, mums and dads, Milo wants to provide the support that your child needs to ace those exams at school. It all begins with proper nutrition.

Give your kids Milo to power them with the energy they need throughout the day. Your kids will just love it!