Apr 24, 2016
'Tis the season of text anxiety as the time comes for the STAAR test, final exams and college entrance exams. There are many tough parenting moments as we see our kids start feeling the pressure. Stress is a hard reality of testing season.
As the end of the school year approaches, exams like the STAAR might begin to make your child feel uneasy. While you may read countless tips and tricks that claim to banish these negative feelings within your child for good, the only surefire way to de-stress the test is to act with time and caution. Whether your child is confident in academics or is feeling a little insecure, stress is still likely a present factor in their lives. Contrary to popular opinion, test-related stress is actually a form of performance anxiety
that stems from adrenaline being released in the body in preparation to face a form of ‘danger.’ Although test taking isn’t exactly ‘dangerous,’ it’s important to understand the side-effects that can coincide with this type of stress, as they may be all too real for your son or daughter. If your child complains of sweating, a rapid heartbeat or feeling as though they might become sick or pass out during testing, this is your cue to spring into action.
If the simple thought of your child dealing with stress and anxiety on their own frightens you, you’re definitely not alone. For that reason, there are a few strategies and actions you can implement to make this period of your child’s life much more enjoyable. At Sylvan Learning Centers of the RGV, we know the toll stress can have on students’ self-confidence. In order to combat this, we’ve compiled a list of 5 simple, yet effective measures (designed for 3rd-12th graders) you can take to make sure your child makes their way through the upcoming exam season feeling calm, cool and collected.
1. Organization is key
In order to avoid stress stemming from late night or last-minute studying, establish a detailed study schedule with your child. At the start of each week leading up to the exam, set clear goals of what should be accomplished each day in small intervals. Rather than studying for long periods of time, your child will be reviewing content on a consistent, yet time-controlled basis while building confidence. Doing so will allow them to focus and relax as they conquer their goals one at a time during the days leading up to the test.
2. Practice ‘Stress-Busting’
Feeling a little tense on test day is normal. For that reason, it’s important that you show your child there are ways to banish these negative feelings. One of the best ways for kids to beat stress is through stress busters
, otherwise known as interactive and engaging activities that teach them to manage tension in a healthy manner. No matter what age group your child falls into, from soothing yoga to building a ‘stress box,’ you’re certain to find a stress buster that’ll make a world of difference.
3. Think Outside of the Box
To help take the edge off testing season, don’t be afraid to take a few unorthodox measures. The following practices have been proven to help reduce stress:
Listen to classical music
Take a quick walk
Eat dark chocolate
4. The Calm Before the Test
While the previous steps are designed to help your child prepare for a test, now it’s time to consider how to put what they’ve learned into practice. On test day, encourage your child to arrive early so that they have time to get comfortable in their surroundings. Also emphasize that once they receive their test they read the directions twice and focus solely on their own speed, rather than how quickly their classmates are progressing. Doing so will allow your child to focus and recall all the hard work they’ve put in thus far.
5. Test Taking Success
Even though your child may be on their own at this point, there are several pointers you can provide them with to help them do their best. Remind them that they may utilize some of the stress busters, such as deep breathing or positive self-talk, during the testing period. Encourage them to drink water or eat a snack if it is allowed. And most importantly, clearly communicate that it is okay to seek out their instructor if they’re confused by the wording of a question.
Test-related stress is the last thing you want your child to worry about. This spring, look for the warning signs and instill confidence in your child so that they can triumph over the STAAR and beyond! If you would like some last minute help with test prep contact us
at Sylvan. We can help make sure your child is ready!