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How to Help Your Children with Test Anxiety

by Bethany Koenig

State testing season is here and with standardized tests come anxiety — for teachers, children and their parents. The pressure is high and the children are feeling it!

All children experience anxiety, and anxiety is a normal response to something that is dangerous or stressful. The good news is that anxiety in kids is very treatable, and children are usually very responsive to treatment.

Test anxiety often comes from a fear of failure, lack of preparation, or a history of problems or bad experiences with test-taking. Parents should be aware of the signs of severe anxiety so they can get involved early and find their children the help they need.

Signs of anxiety may include headache; nausea or stomach issues; shortness of breath; feelings of anger, fear or helplessness; difficulty concentrating; or negative thinking.

Here are some tips for parents that can help children manage test anxiety:

  • Be involved — know what tests your child will be taking and on what days.
  • Talk to your children about their preparation for the tests and how the results may affect them.
  • Help your children in areas they may struggle in — many teachers would be happy to provide some extra practice worksheets.
  • Make the practice sessions short, and set small, manageable goals so that the extra practice will help enhance your child’s confidence.
  • On test day, make sure your children get a good night’s sleep and eat a healthy breakfast.
  • Then send them to school prepared with the needed school materials (such as a No. 2 pencil, calculator, etc.).
  • Keep a positive attitude and stay calm. Help give kids some strategies to relax if they become anxious during the test, such as taking deep breaths or counting back from 10.

In addition to these test-day strategies, here are some other ways that you can help with test anxiety throughout the school year:

  • Help your children with homework, and make sure they are completing homework assignments daily.
  • Help your child develop good study habits and have a positive attitude towards schools from a young age.
  • Ensure that your child has good attendance at school.
  • Stay in communication with your child’s teacher.
  • Encourage your children to read as much as possible and read to them daily.
  • Look for educational games and apps they can play in their free time.

For more information contact Alta Behavioral Healthcare at (330) 793-2487. Happy testing!