With the thought of state testing among the horizon, the amount of anxiety and culture of stress surrounding testing can multiply rapidly! And unfortunately, parents too often can be a facilitator of that stress by applying unneeded pressure. As a parent, it’s important to ask yourself how you would want to feel during the week of testing? I would imagine you’d say that you want to feel focused, attentive, calm and confident… right? The good news is we as parents can do our best to help ease the anxiety leading up to the day, and calm our kids’ jitters on the day of! Below are a few suggestions that can help every child feel calmer, sleep better, and perform their best!
1. A test is just a test. While some stress can be good and testing is important, remind your child that this test is just a small piece of who he or she really is! Don’t stress them out about a score for the sake of a score. Instead, encourage kids to do their best by pointing out their strengths rather than singling them out on their weaknesses.
2. Zzz’s. Start a good nighttime routine now! It’s important to not wait until the week of testing to tweak bedtime because sticking to routines is critical for adolescents. In fact, disrupting daily life can cause stress and unneeded tension which is not ideal for the days leading up to testing.
3. Get moving! Get your child outside and moving! Fresh air not only gets the endorphins moving and relieves stress, but movement facilitates resilience and helps increase retention. The GoNoodle Kids app is an excellent way to integrate more movement into your family’s life.
4. Fuel up. While there’s no “Magic Food” that equates to perfect scores, you can help facilitate a good performance by fueling your kiddo’s body with “Brain Food!” On the morning of testing, skip out on the sugary snacks and instead serve up a breakfast full of protein and complex carbs. These kinds of breakfasts are ideal for strong foundation are are known for increasing mental alertness and perking up the brain!
5. Get your child to school early! There is nothing worse than showing up late on such an important day. This causes unneeded stress and tension which can hinder testing.
6. Encourage, encourage, encourage! Tell your child to give it their best – that’s all he or she can possibly do and your positive encouragement makes a difference!
What happens if your child doesn’t perform as expected? Don’t freak out. In fact, this is an excellent time to reinforce the idea that if you making mistakes it at leasts means you are trying … “Growth Mindset.”
Just remember… Life is full of tests and with parental support we can help our kids face tests with confidence, knowledge, and strategy!
Amy is a fourth grade teacher in Woods Cross, Utah.