Why You Should Not Encourage Cramming in Your Child
You may have tried cramming as you prepared for an exam during your student years. In some cases, it has given you amazing results. However, studies have shown that cramming is not something students should do habitually. Cramming is a learning technique that students pick up when procrastinating. This is when instead of studying for about a week or two week for a test, they do it in the night before the test which only results in in poor test scores.
While it does have temporary good effects, it is still undeniably the least effective way of learning, especially in the long run. Here are the reasons why:
1. Cramming Only Stores Information Temporarily
While cramming may help your child get high scores in their tests, they are unlikely to remember what they learned after their exams. This is because cramming only stores information in the brain’s short-term memory. A school is a place of learning vital information that we can use in real-life scenarios. Cramming forfeits this purpose. So, what is the point of going to school if your child is just going to cram and forget everything once they graduate?
To avoid cramming, let your child practice the “Spacing Effect”. Give them an hour or less to study every day or every other day. This will help your child learn effectively, and it will also help in storing information in their brain for a long time so they will not need to cram just to pass their exams.
2. Cramming Stresses Your Child
Imagine studying 5 or more subjects with lengthy topics all in just one night. This is actually what your child does when they cram. Due to the bulk of information they need to take in when they cram, their body and mind can experience stress which can negatively affect their mental, emotional, and overall well-being. This may result in physical and mental breakdown which, in turn, can lead to poor performance in school.
That’s why you should be vigilant in their study habits. Help them identify their study goals that they want to achieve in school. Then, assist them in setting up a healthy schedule and make sure that they will stick to it. A good schedule will help them prepare for exams in good time so they will not have to cram anymore. This will lessen their stress and anxiety whenever exams are approaching.
3. Cramming Can Make Your Child Feel Guilty
Due to their poor school performance, your child may feel guilty towards themselves and to you. While you may be angry at your child for cramming, you should not take everything out on them. It is vital for parents to identify and understand their child’s struggles first to address them better. Talk to them in private. Go over all their struggles in class and help them figure out a way on how to address the problems.
As a parent, you have to guide your child on how to get back on track in their studies. Not only will this help them in erasing their feeling of guilt, but it will also help them gain more confidence when doing schoolwork or exams.
4. Cramming Destroys Healthy Sleeping Patterns
The expression “Pulling an all-nighter” is not a joke because this is what cramming is all about. When your child crams, there is a higher possibility that they are studying from dusk till dawn, and this can interfere with their sleep patterns. Lack of sleep can cause their concentration levels to drop, making it hard for them to concentrate in class. This causes them to be unable to perform well during their exams. Instead of cramming before the exams, help your child set a daily study schedule. Not only will this help them ace the exam better, but this will also allow them to rest well the night before the exam.
5. It Causes Mental Block
Since cramming results in a poor sleep schedule, it can increase the risks of your child experiencing a mental block. This happens when your child is too stressed and anxious about the exam, and they are unable to recall everything they have studied. To avoid this from happening, plan practice tests for your child a week or two before the test. This will take out the anxiety that your child is likely to feel when taking exams. Practice tests are also a great study or review tool for your child.
6. It Ruins School Routine
Although we can not deny that gadgets such as phones and computers are beneficial for everyone, especially our children, there are still some loopholes that you, as a parent, should help in fixing. If your child spends too much time on their phone or computer, the chances of procrastination are high. They won’t get things done in good time, and they will get lost in their school routine if they don’t have a study schedule in place.
To address this problem, you should set up rules as to when your child is allowed to use their phone. Make sure that their computer is placed where you can easily monitor it. Also, set up an acceptable time for them to use their gadgets.
While cramming is considered a study technique for some students, this is not a good practice for lifelong learning. As parents, you have a role to play when it comes to ensuring that your children are well-equipped and well prepared for their exams. Identifying and understanding your child’s struggles can help them in avoiding cramming. If you find out that your child is struggling with habitual cramming, assist them in getting back on track. Punishing them and being angry with them will not do anything to solve their situation at all. Make them feel that they are not alone in their struggle and support them all the way.