Taking their SATs and other important tests can be one of the most stressful times during a child’s life. It can be easy to forget what the anxiety and stress of things like exam worries can be like for a child, once you’re an adult and have different ideas about what counts as stressful. But for kids, this kind of thing can be a very big deal. Children respond to stress in different ways, and so it can also be hard to tell if your child is having the effects of testing anxiety. However, if they have important tests coming up, it is important to do what you can to help them feel confident and prepared.
Here are some tips for helping your child during a period of testing anxiety in both practical and emotional ways:
Make Sure You Understand the Tests They Will be Taking to Offer the Best Support
One of the things that can be hardest for children dealing with testing stress is feeling like the adults around them don’t understand what it is they actually have to do. Their school will usually give them a full explanation of which tests they will be taking and what the schedule will be like, and you need to make sure you know all of this information too. For national tests like SATs, you can find a lot of information online, and even try taking mock versions of the tests yourself to get a clear idea of what is being expected of your child and their peers. The more you understand the tests, the more confidence your child will have in the advice and support you have to offer, and the better you’ll be able to come up with ways to help them study.
Help Them Feel Prepared With Some Practice Sessions
Something that can make children feel a lot more at ease about the tests they are going to be sitting is to develop a familiarity with the format of the test and to have some experience of doing similar tests beforehand, with less pressure. Schools will usually allow for mock testing periods where kids can experience the exam setting and the time limits of the tests prior to doing the real thing, but you can also use online resources to help your child sit some practice tests at home, for example, these quality CAT4 practice tests.
Don’t Add to the Pressure
Finally, as well as offering practical help with getting ready for the tests, it is also really important that you think about your own attitude to your child’s performance in exams and tests in general, and make sure that you are encouraging them to do well but without adding to the pressure they are already feeling. No matter whether your child is usually top of their class at everything or tends to struggle, they can still be susceptible to feeling like people will be disappointed in them if they don’t get a certain result in their tests. Remember, and remind them, that while individual tests feel like a very important thing, they are all just bricks in the wall of your child’s education, and it is doing their best consistently that will set them up for a good future, not getting a certain mark in just one phase of testing.
These are just a few things to think about if you want to find the best ways to be supportive and helpful to your child while they are experiencing worry and anxiety about upcoming standardised tests or other major testing at school.