Beating Test Stress
BEATING TEST STRESS
Tests can be a great source of stress for children. There are things you can do to help kids with their stress:
• Keep their routine consistent and dependable. (Testing brings enough unknowns.)
• Encourage them to talk about their worries or fears. (Ask how they are feeling about testing, school, friends, and activities.) This will give them an opportunity to share.
• Listen without judging or criticizing. (Their concerns may seem silly to you. Children have a different perspective. Sometimes kids just want to be heard and validated.)
• Spend time relaxing together. (See “Relax in 10 Easy Steps” for ideas.)
• Encourage them to be physically active. (A quick walk outside when dressed properly, even on a blustery day, can do wonders for stress relief and mood!)
• Make sure they are eating healthy foods.
• Provide structure for your children to get plenty of sleep. (TV can suck up a lot of useless time. Reduce TV watching before and during testing weeks. Use relaxation techniques or read to unwind before bedtime.)
• Get things prepared the night before when possible (lunches packed, homework done and put in backpacks, notices signed, etc.) so that the morning isn’t too rushed.
• Use the practice materials that will be coming home to familiarize your children (and you) with the testing format.
• Share specific things you are proud of them for and the reasons why. (Have they been: more responsible for their homework lately? Treating their younger siblings nicer? Staying out of trouble in school? Continuing to work hard in a subject that is usually difficult for them?) Use any opportunity to catch them being good. Positive thoughts can often help bring positive results.