Studying can be a daunting thing for kids, especially if they are just entering school for the first time and if they have learning or attention problems like dyslexia or ADHD. They tend to get nervous over a lot of things: from how they speak out to mingling with their peers. This anxiety increases when they hear that they will have a test coming up.
As a result of their anxiety, they perform poorly in their classes and in their exams.
Before this anxiety would eat your child and disable them from performing well in their classes, here are some tips you can use to help them get rid of their test anxiety:
1. Learn what is making them nervous
There are many things that could cause your child to worry. It could be the multiplication part of their math test or the way they have to answer the exams.
Some kids would try to avoid answering you when you ask them, but when they do, they would feel a little relieved that their worries are unfounded when you explain it to them.
When you do talk to your child about their anxiety, don’t become anxious as well as you listen to them. Stay calm and let your child tell you their worries before you can talk about ways of finding a way to reduce their stress.
2. Introduce The Test Formats
Some kids find it scary to think about what their test would be like. Would it be multiple choice? Fill in the blanks? Or something completely new? If your child knows what to expect in their exams, it can reduce their anxiety considerably.
You can ask your child’s teacher about their exam schedules and the format that would be used in either short or long tests. When you get a copy of the format of the tests, you can prepare your child to handle these tests.
Subsequently, if you get your child a private tutor, they will also be able to prepare your kids by giving them pop quizzes to help them recognize test formats.
3. Review Them Little By Little
A great way to ensure your child doesn’t fear their exams is by ensuring that they are prepared for any eventuality. You can schedule review sessions every day at home to help them with their lessons and even prepare them in advance. Break the test sections into parts and review them part by part each day so as not to increase anxiety in your child.
You or your tutor can also conduct daily mock test drills a week from the test to allow your child to be familiarized with testing environment and the regulations in the test such as no talking when the test has started. Explain in details what to expect during the test and who your child can seek help with if he finds everything overwhelming.
4. Which Study Method Works Well for Him?
Every child is different when it comes to how they take in information faster and what environment they prefer to study better. In this case, try finding which learning method works well for them. Ask your child’s teacher for their observations and apply it to your child’s review sessions.
You should also consider putting a small space aside for your child as their homework station so they could concentrate better. Of course, you should also make sure no distractions are around to ensure your child focuses on their work.
5. Give Tips!
Kids tend to become stressed with tests because they don’t understand how to handle the test. You can alleviate their anxiety by telling them what they need to do when taking a test. You can tell them to read the questions first then think what it is about and what they need to do. If the question is too long to comprehend at one reading, break the sentences up.
Telling them tips on handling trick questions, such as skipping a difficult question and returning back to it after answering the easy questions would also help them a lot as well as boosting their confidence to answer the difficult ones.
6. Praise Your Kids For Their Hard Work
Some kids tend to worry about their exams especially their scores. In this case, give them honest praise regardless of their score in the exam. Show them that even if they did not get full marks, you are proud of them if they have done their best for the test.
If you see them working hard in studying for their tests, praise their efforts. Your praise will do a lot to improve their confidence in dealing with their tests and help them remember their strengths.
7. Keep Reminding Them That They Have Support
Speak to your child’s school or special needs tutoring teachers to let them know about his anxiety problem and help your child focus during their tests by helping them focus and reassure them that everything is ok.
Ask the teachers to allow provisions for the child with learning and attention disabilities. Provisions like taking a break during the test will allow the child to get out of the stressful environment for a breather before attempting the test again, will help the child to refocus or having the child sit in the front row near the tester will reassure the child that any request from him can be heard immediately.
8. Ensure They Are Well-Rested and Prepared for the Test
Before your child takes their test, make sure they are well-rested and given a well-rounded breakfast to keep them in tip-top shape for their exams. Of course, make sure you do not let them have too much screen time because it will derail their focus before the exams.
On the day of the test, do not ask the child to revise anymore. Instead, focus on breathing techniques to help to calm the child’s nerves. There is no such thing as too much reassurance.
9. Ask Your Child About the Test
After each test, try speaking with your child with regards to how they handled the test. Ask them how the test went and if they felt they have done their best on the exams. If they say they felt they didn’t prepare well or if they say they wish they studied harder, support them and help them prepare for the next one.
Remember to keep your disappointment at bay! Children are extremely sensitive and able to sense your disappointment. It might cause them to overreact to anxiety at the next test.
Letting them take action on their own would also help reduce their anxiety and give them the confidence necessary to face the next one.
Anxiety is a very dangerous enemy, especially for kids because it can paralyze them once it hits and not stopped immediately. This anxiety is double if they have learning and attention issues since their focus is not 100% on their tests. As a parent, you need to be active in helping your child prepare for their exams because they would need all the support they can get to get past their test anxiety.
Of course, make sure you do not pressure your child as you help them because it will just add to their anxiety. Keep calm and support them every step of the way! Good luck!
If your child has special needs, here are some of the articles with helpful tips: