How to Overcome Test Stress
September 19, 2011 ~
As children get older, they will have to take an ever-increasing number of tests, and for many, the pressure to perform leads to anxiety that can stifle their ability to learn. Exam day does not have to be a struggle for your child. Beat test stress with a few simple strategies.
Make Studying a Daily Routine
Cramming for tests the night before is stressful and does not lead to long-term learning. If your child studies every day, exam material will seem familiar and comfortable. Your child will also be accustomed to regular periods of concentration, which is a key aspect of successful testing.
Healthy Body and Healthy Mind
Ensure your child eats well regularly, but especially the night before and morning of a big exam. Brain-healthy foods such as fish, vegetables, fruits and whole grains will help your child’s mind and body stay in balance. Do you have a picky eater at home? Whole-grain bread with natural peanut butter and low-sugar jelly is a healthy take on a childhood favorite. Also, try cutting hard-boiled eggs into fun shapes or serving up lightly battered fish sticks for a dose of brain-friendly omega-3. Limit sugar intake to help regulate blood sugar and prevent mood swings and energy crashes. A focused mind comes from a well-fueled body. Do you need some family-friendly recipes? Visit http://kidshealth.org/parent/recipes/index.html for a list of delicious ideas.
Testing can induce anxiety even in the most well-prepared child. Talk with your child whenever you notice anxiety surfacing and teach him or her a few basic calming techniques. When the big test arrives, your child will already have the skills to deal with anxiety and fear. First, help your child to identify when he or she is feeling anxious. Second, ask your child to practice breathing deeply and slowly for 30 seconds while mentally focusing on a happy and calming subject. Third, have your child repeat positive affirmations. Fourth, remind him or her that simply concentrating and doing one’s best is all that is required. Oftentimes stress grows not only from a fear of failing, but also from a desire to be perfect.
When you support your child’s mind and body with healthy habits, you provide the foundation for your child’s success. Tests are a big part of schooling, but they do not have to be the worst part. Encourage your child to see test day as an opportunity to show off all the hard work he or she has put in throughout the school year. When grades come back, you will see all the difference a little preparation can make in helping your child reach his or her full potential.