School is back in session which for many students means another year of tests, lots of homework and juggling extracurricular activities. It is very common for students to have test anxiety and as parents, there are ways to help relieve them of their worry.
Some children have test anxiety because they have a fear of failure, disappointment, judgment, punishment, or because they are generally anxious about everything. Test anxiety can occur even if your child is prepared, and it can cause them to do poorly. As parents, we can be supportive, loving, and comforting to our child when they are anxious. If you start to sense that your child is feeling stressed and uneasy, talk to them about what’s on their mind. Be a comforting listener and help your child to prepare in the best way they can, so that he/she will at least be somewhat confident. Here are a few things that you can do come August to help your child feel more prepared and less anxious about test-taking throughout the school year:
Don’t over-emphasize the importance of tests. Make it clear that school/grades are important, but not the defining factor for your student’s success. Encourage your child to study and do well but don’t stress he/she out more by acting like grades are the ONLY thing that matters.
Encourage your child to “Do your very best” over, and over, and over. Help your child understand that you want to see they are trying their hardest (whether that means As, Bs, Cs) but that you don’t expect them to receive an “A” on every test. You want your child to feel that you are proud of them when they do their best, even if that means a bad test grade every once in a while. By emphasizing “do your very best” we are suggesting they try and study hard but that we don’t expect them to be perfect.
Help ease your child’s anxiety ahead of test time. Plan a study schedule days (or weeks if needed) before the actual test and make study time a priority. You might not think this helps, but the “designated study time” will stick in your child’s head and they will want to try to adhere to the planned schedule. Help your child find balance by also addressing time for sports, leisure, reading, or other activities aside from just studying. You want to advocate for balance.
Suggest to your child to ask the teacher details about the test. If asked, sometimes teachers will convey the layout of the test ~ how the questions will be worded, which chapters of material will be covered, etc. The more that your child knows about what to expect on the test can help relieve test anxiety.
Stay in-tune with your child as they prepare for a test. Ask your child in the days prior to the test how he/she is feeling, if he or she needs to talk, and they preparing for the test. This shows that you are invested in their school life and care about their grades, but that you also are giving them space to manage their own studies.
Make yourself available as a resource. Offer to quiz, ask questions, or review material with your child to help them better understand and remember the information. They may not accept it, but offer to sit and read or work while they study. Being nearby while studying may provide a calming presence and make them feel less alone and anxious.
Children will feel confident through the love and support we give them before and after a test. We want our children to know that a bad test score isn’t the end of the world, and a good test score is terrific, but that we love them the same at the end of the day!
AlpharettaMoms is a proud writer for North Fulton Family Life publications. This article can be found in the September 2018 issue. All opinions are my own.