Whether your child is a laid back or a natural worrier, standardized testing stress can trigger anxiety, especially if this is the first year the child will be taking the exams. If your child is feeling the pressure, you can step in and help alleviate their stress. Here are a few tips:
Talk To Them
The most important thing you can do is talk to your child. Giving them information about the test may help them worry less since they’ll know what to expect. Also, make it clear that these tests are not as big a deal as they have probably built them up in their minds. Here are a few phrases to share with your child:
- You do not get graded for this set of tests
- It is okay if you don’t get a chance to finish each section
- If you don’t know an answer to a problem, they can skip it and come back to it later
- Feeling a little nervous isn’t a bad thing; it means you want to do well on the test
- We love you no matter how well you do on the tests
Give Them Tools to Use at School
No matter how much you encourage your child not to worry during the standardized testing, chances are if they are a worrier, they may still feel nervous during the test. Give them some tools they can use at school to calm themselves down. Here are some examples:
- Take three deep breaths, breathing in through the nose and breathing out hard through the mouth.
- Take a minute to practice mindfulness: for example, look around the room and find 10 blue items or count how many kids are wearing sneakers.
- If allowed by the teacher, give your child a “good luck charm” or a picture of something that makes them smile to look at when the nerves hit.
Give them a phrase to remember and repeat when they get worried, like: “These tests are not graded,” or “No one expects me to be perfect.”
Give Them Something To Look Forward To
Typically, since standardized testing weeks can be a little strenuous, schools add in a little extra fun, like extra recess or permission to bring in hard candy to eat during the test. Whatever the fun thing is, hype it up for your child! It will give her something to look forward to.
If your school doesn’t add any extra fun, add some yourself. Plan a fun activity after school that your child can look forward to like baking cookies or playing a board game.
One thing that will help your child deal with their anxiety about the test is feeling prepared. Make sure they have the right type and the right number of pencils. Have them get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy breakfast as part of their preparation as well.
Let The Teacher Know
If your child has severe anxiety about the standardized tests, make sure you let your teacher know. That way, you can both work together to come up with a plan that will keep your child feeling calm during the tests.
Hopefully, these tips will help your student stress less about standardized testing.