Can you hear it? The signs of springtime are all around us. Birds are chirping, warm winds are gently blowing and somewhere, off in the distance are the sounds of hearts racing, teeth chattering and muffledcries (and that's just the teachers!;) This time of year marks the beginning of the dreaded "testing season". Signs of stress and anxiety begin to fill the air (and the classroom and the car and the dinner table...you get the idea;) but it doesn't have be this way. As parents, we can offer our support and guidance to help kids manage their 'big' feelings and learn to approach test-taking with confidence in their ability to succeed!
- Make sure that your child does all their homework and reading assignments, this will help make sure she child is fully prepared for the test.
- Encourage your child to space out their studying and homework assignments so that they won't be forced to cram the night before the test.
- If you are anxious about your child's test, it's okay, but try to keep cool around your child. You don't want them to get anxious about their tests too.
- Encourage your child to do well but don't pressure her. It's important for your child to stay relaxed for the test.
- Keep a positive attitude about test taking. Negativity or reliving your own testing nightmares will not help to promote that "can-do" attitude your child needs.
- Provide a quiet, well lighted area with little distractions to help your child study efficiently.
- Mark down test days on your calendar so you and your child are both aware of testing dates.
- Let your child relax for a few hours before bedtime, it can be stressful for a child to study all night.
- Create a calming bedtime routine such as taking a warm bath and reading a positive story. On the night before a test, make sure that your child gets plenty of peaceful sleep.
- Ensure that your child eats a healthy breakfast and avoid heavy foods that may make her groggy and avoid high sugar foods that can cause restlessness and increase anxiety.
- Make sure that your child gets up early enough so that he/ she will be on time to school.
- Talking about the test with your child can relieve stress about test taking, just do it on your her terms. Allow your child to express his/her concern without being judgmental or interjecting your own feelings. Stay mindful!
- If your child is struggling on their tests, talk to them about it to see if they recognize the cause. Be sure to meet with their teacher to find out the best way to help your child at home. As an educator, I know we welcome parent input. If talking to the teacher doesn't help, you can go to the guidance counselor for support and mediation if needed.
- After the test is over and grades have been posted, review the test with your child and go over any mistakes they have made. Make sure they understand what they did wrong and how they can improve the next time.
- Praise or reward your child for their hard work preparing for the test. A little praise goes a long way in boosting self-esteem.
Above all, remember to keep your own test anxiety in check and provide plenty of time to get out and enjoy the beautiful spring weather each and every day!
(This article is from "Peace Love Kids: Test Taking Tips for Parents" available at http://peacelovekidstudio.blogspot.com/2013/03/test-taking-tips-for-parents.html)