A Helping Hand: What You Can do to Help Your Kids with Their Upcoming Standardized Tests - Rice Psychology

A Helping Hand: What You Can do to Help Your Kids with Their Upcoming Standardized Tests

Consider the following story as it relates to this week’s topic.

Ashley’s standardized tests are coming up in a couple of weeks and I can already tell she’s starting to stress about it. She’s typically an A student and will probably do great but these tests are getting to her a bit. The teachers and school administration put so much pressure on students to practice, practice, practice, and sometimes tell them that if they don’t pass, they might not get promoted to the next grade! That is an incredible amount of pressure. We took standardized tests in school, but teachers never told us what they did with our scores, so I never worried too much. I’m not sure how to help Ashley when she is feeling overwhelmed with this. Should I try to ease away her worry or let her handle this on her own?

For many kids, thinking of standardized tests can cause irritability, anxiety, and even panic. Click To Tweet

For many kids, thinking of standardized tests can cause irritability, anxiety, and even panic. After all, these tests often determine which kids move on to higher grades and which may be held back. The possibility of repeating a grade can be distressing and embarrassing for kids. To avoid this, they might overdo their studying, draining them both physically and mentally.

As parents, it’s understandable to worry about your kids when it comes to their academics. Click To Tweet

As parents, it’s understandable to worry about your kids when it comes to their academics. However, to avoid adding your anxiety on top of their own, we advise you to put on a calm face and take some deep breaths when you are around your kids.

We have some ideas that may help as test time approaches by both facilitating their studying and by simply making life at home tranquil.

Ensure that Their Homework is Always Done

Once your child arrives home from school and has had a breather and snack, ask them what homework they have for that night. The trick is to ask “what” and not “if” – that way they are less likely to simply say “no” and will hopefully answer the “what” question instead. Depending on their assignments, help them plan out their afternoon and evening so that they are done well before bed.

Making sure your child completes their homework every night will allow them to absorb all of the material gradually rather than try to cram it all at the last minute. One of the best strategies for exam prepping is to steadily complete readings and schoolwork throughout the year so that test studying is more of a review than new learning.

Stay in Touch with Teachers

While most schools have online systems to check assignments and grades, periodically reaching out to your child’s teachers about concerns is still the best thing to do. You will be up-to-date on where your child is academically, and always know what their lessons are. You can also ask their teacher for some tips on helping your child prepare for tests.

Practice Makes Perfect

When speaking to your child’s teacher, learn which tests the school district will be administering and then do some online research to learn more about them. Also, find out if your child is practicing sample questions or essays in school. And if not, see if there are samples available for your child to try out at home. That way, they won’t be caught off guard on test day and you can remind your child of how prepared they are.

Test Day Preparation

In regard to the day of the test, talk with your child about what to expect. This can include which subjects will be covered, which rules will be enforced, and how often they’ll be receiving breaks. This will help your son or daughter prepare and manage their time when test day arrives.

If your child is entitled to any special accommodations like extended times or breaks, be sure that they and their teacher are aware of them. It is not uncommon for schools to overlook details when they have so many kids and special needs to cater to.

Consider a Reduction in Chores

A special gift you may want to give your kids during this stressful time is a break from their more time-consuming chores. Let them know that you will relieve them of their responsibilities during this time (if they would like) because you know how much time and energy they are putting into their studies. You could even do it in a special way, such as with a coupon in a card that they can trade in to redeem their time off.

Help Your Child Relax

As a kid, do you recall how tiring it was to study for tests? Click To Tweet

As a kid, do you recall how tiring it was to study for tests? And how stressed you got leading up to exam week? Your child will be going through the same, so do what you can to help them relax. Have them take a break every hour or so by walking around the house, conversing a bit, or resting their eyes.

Perhaps find a short mindfulness video online that you like to practice at home.  If your child starts to stress out, they can take a minute or two to close their eyes and re-center themselves.

After studying is completed for the night, invite your child to relax with the rest of the family by watching a movie, reading a book, drawing, or doing something else that helps them unwind.

Get Good Sleep

As important as studying is, getting good sleep during exam prep time, and particularly the night before important tests, is of equal importance. Try to stick to your child’s bedtime. Be sure their room temperature is comfortably cool and that they have a few minutes to wind down before bed.

Be Calm and Supportive

Again, your child will likely have a million thoughts running through their head about their test. This is the time for you to step up, hug and hold them, and let them know that, no matter what, you’re proud of them. Remind them that you were a kid once and had to take tests, so the feelings they’re going through, you went through too.

Here for You and Your Family

Testing can be stressful and strenuous for a child, so know that it’s fine to offer some solutions to help ease these feelings. If you’re having a bit of trouble doing so or aren’t sure how to go about helping your child, then Rice Psychology Group can help. Our licensed psychologists and mental health counselors in Tampa are ready to provide the guidance you and your family needs to feel better. Contact us in Tampa today to schedule an appointment.


About Rice Psychology

Rice Psychology Group is home to a team of psychologists who work tirelessly to help adults, adolescents and children deal with their issues. Whether you’re currently dealing with depression, going through a divorce or fighting an issue you just can’t understand, know that our Tampa psychologists are here to help.

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