Children in elementary schools have their fair share of high-stakes exams. These tests make an important part of their academic experience and can be a good stepping stone for their future schooling. However, some kids find it more difficult to achieve their full potential under pressure, and the stress can get even to the most carefree of them.
While you can’t do your kid’s exams for them, you can help them cope with the expectations and set them up for success. Here are some tips that will help you help your kids prepare for big exams.
Identify Nervousness and Stress
Changes in behavior can suggest your children are going through an emotional and stressful period and find it difficult to cope with all their obligations. It’s difficult for children to articulate their emotions, so you will need to be extra attentive. Some of the signs you should pay attention to are:
- displaying less interest in activities they usually enjoy
- being more irritable or easily upset
- acting clingy or fidgety.
Talk to Them and Provide Emotional Support
Your child’s emotional wellbeing is more important than test results. Plus, if they are feeling calm and focused, they are more likely to achieve greater success. That’s a win-win situation.
Show understanding of what they are going through and encourage them to talk about their feelings. Provide support and encouragement by motivating them to try their best. Do not inflate the negative sides of poor results.
Practicing improves children’s confidence and helps you and them see where they stand. That’s why many schools and parents independently use pretests or practice tests that can indicate children’s current knowledge and ability. These tests can be found online, so your child can familiarize themselves with the exam format, develop better time-management skills, and monitor their progress.
Prioritize Constant Work
This doesn’t mean prioritizing constant studying and practicing for the test, but regular attendance and classwork. After all, the tests are based on educational material taught in school. Being present and completing assignments consistently throughout the school year make the best base for achieving great results on exams.
Communicate with the Teachers
Yes, kids need to be consistent at school, but so do their parents. Make sure you maintain regular communication with your children’s teachers so that you have an insight into their knowledge and progress. This will help you understand the learning material and goals so that you can help your kids at home.
Provide and Adequate Space for Studying
Kids need a dedicated study space to avoid distractions and maintain productivity. First and foremost, the room should be quiet and well-lit. Also, make sure to equip it with comfortable workspace furniture and all the necessary learning materials.
Personalize Their Studying Strategy
Not all kids adopt knowledge in the same way, and not all of them are productive at the same time. Talk to your children to see when it is most convenient for them to practice and when they need their free time. Also, use the practice tests and the insight you get from the teachers to assess in which areas your kids excel and where they need to work more. This will help you create a personalized studying regime with an accent on the more challenging areas.
Sometimes, even when they know the answer, children do not trust themselves enough to be right. Or they are too nervous to get anything done. Building confidence is not a race; it’s a marathon, so you need to be on it every day. Be supportive and offer encouragement. Be available but also encourage independence.
Encourage Healthy Habits
Finally, as with adults, sleep and healthy eating habits can have a profound impact on focus, productivity, memory, and mood. As a parent, supporting these needs is your everyday mission, so it’s not something unknown to you. Try to keep a regular sleep schedule (no digital distractions) and serve well-rounded meals. The day before the exam can be particularly challenging because they will be nervous, but if you create good habits, it should be easier.
Last, but not least, remember to keep things in perspective. No test in the world will have such a profound impact on your children’s future as prolonged stress and anxiety. In other words, neither you nor your kids should be discouraged or upset by exam scores.
© 2021 – 2023, Sarah Kaminski. All rights reserved.