I am not sure who has more anxiety during testing season, parents or students. As parents, we want our children to always succeed. But, then how do they learn from mistakes? As students, the pressure to always be amazing is constantly weighing on you. But, is it ok to fail and learn?
It’s important for us as parents to take a step back and implement ways that support our kiddos as they embark on their important tests. Here are some strategies to try during testing season to fight test anxiety:
1. BREATHE – you need to take a breath and so does your kiddo. Try using a breathing exercise like Rainbow Breath or Airtime. Breathing helps ease tension, relax the body, and gives the brain oxygen (important food for focusing).
2. STRETCH – Movement is essential for kids, especially during testing season. Encourage your kids to stretch to release the tension from sitting all day and from stress from the actual test. Maximo is wonderful for this! I would recommend Uber Straddle , Around The Town, or Star Of The Show.
3. TALK – When we talk to our child about their struggles and fears we teach them strategies to help them problem solve. The sheer act of talking and being present is a vital piece of parenthood, and sometimes one of the hardest parts. Take some time to talk to your child about their thoughts and feelings with testing. Can you help them come up with a list of their strengths that will help them succeed? Can you discuss weaknesses and perhaps help put a plan in action to help them improve?
4. TIME – Not so fast… remind kids that time is their friend and that the first one done doesn’t get a prize. Encourage your kids to go back and check their answers if there is still time on the clock. Tell them taking their time during testing is crucial because it allows them to think things through, connect and ensure they did not make careless errors. Not rushing also allows kids to breathe and instill a sense of pride in work.
5. REST – A proper amount of sleep is essential for performance. Sleep deprivation not only makes kids drowsy and more like to make silly mistakes, but also can make them emotional and stressed out.
Marcy is a first grade teacher in Beaverton, OR, mom, and is an expert in implementing strategies to help kids deal with stress and anxiety.