If you have school age kids, you no doubt have witnessed first hand the amount of stress that standardized tests create. Most kids are well aware of the lowest score they can get on these tests in order to avoid negative consequences. The consequences vary by location and school district, but they may include having to re-take the test again and being singled out by their peers for re-testing, having to go to summer school, or even being held back from advancing to the next grade level with their peers.
Many kids feel stress from these standardized tests, and this includes those who struggle with their schoolwork and those who find their normal assignments to be easy. The symptoms of testing anxiety can include nausea, fatigue, headaches, irritability, and more. No parent wants to watch their child struggle with these symptoms of stress and test anxiety, so what can you as a parent do to help?
Preparation. As with many situations in life, being prepared for the big event can often help your child eliminate a large amount of stress. This may include helping your child with practice tests in the weeks leading up to the test date, and your child’s teacher may be able to provide you with some materials. You can also ensure your child has pencils and other materials necessary on test day, too.
The Night Before. The night before the test, you ideally will want to get your child to bed early. However, sending your child to bed too early can simply lead to him or her laying in bed wide awake and getting even more stressed out. It may be a good idea to stick to your regular bedtime, but to ensure your child gets a little more activity that afternoon so that sleep comes easier.
The Morning of Test Day. The morning of test day should be absolutely easy and relaxed for your child. This should include getting your child to school on time and without any morning hassles like searching for missing shoes or a misplaced backpack. Be sure to give your child a healthy meal, too.
The Pep Talk. The big elephant in the room will, of course, be the test. The morning of the test, you will want to talk to your child about how prepared he or she is and instill a sense of confidence rather than stress. Often going the “do your best” route with your pep talk is far better than the “you’d better pass or else” route.
Taking standardized tests is never fun for kids, and they can really stress some kids out. Keep these tips in mind to help your child get through test day with minimal stress and maximum success!
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