Mandatory testing in US schools is no longer reserved for the juniors and seniors planning for college and taking SAT and ACT tests. Mandatory testing now begins as early as third grade in many states, and this can put an incredible amount of pressure on kids and their parents. Especially on military parents who cannot always be around in person.
As parents we want to do everything we can to help our kids succeed on important tests but the last thing a parent should do is come off as too overbearing, as that just adds to a child’s stress.
There is no magic wand you can wave, or secret formula you can use, that can help guarantee that your child will ace their tests. However, there are some things that you can help your child to do to make sure that they are as prepared – and as calm – as possible when the big day comes.
Help Your Kid Find Their Own Reason to Succeed
Just telling your kid that they must pass a test is not always enough to motivate them. Their teachers have been telling them that too and they are probably sick of hearing it. What does work better is if you help them to understand why it is should be important to them.
Talking to them about their future goals for secondary school, college and even beyond that is something a parent should do but without being too ‘heavy’ about it. And never make them feel that a less than perfect score would be the end of the world, no child ever deserves that kind of pressure!
Sometimes, giving a twelve-year-old kid a different reason to succeed that they can relate to can be a big help when it comes to helping them focus on the importance of the exams without getting too stressed out. Yes, maybe this sounds a bit like bribery but promising them a reward they understand – things like a new video game or new clothes or a trip to somewhere cool -if they do well can be the best way to get through to a kid and give them something to be a bit excited about rather than being terrified about upcoming tests.
Help Your Child Prepare to Revise
Before your child sits down to study have them do a few simple exercises to get some extra oxygen flowing to their brain. It might seem a little bit silly to them but let them know that it really can help, lots of scientists say so (what scientists often say impresses kids more than what their parents say!)
Having a kid sit for hours and hours at a time to revise is not a great idea either, they will simply get bored and ‘tune out.” They are, after all, still kids. It’s important that you break up their study sessions into sensible manageable chunks and lets them take a regular break for a quick power nap (something else that those scientists recommend) or even to play a video game so that studying becomes less of a chore.
Encourage Old Fashioned Paper Note Taking
Even though your kid is probably used to doing almost everything on their computer at home when it comes to exam revision there is still no substitute for some good old-fashioned paper note taking. Organizing what they have learned into notes helps children make more sense of the information they need to know and by encouraging them to make the notes themselves they can organize everything in a way that they understand best which is often very different to the way things are written in textbooks.
Remind Your Kid That Slower Can Be Better
Too many kids do less than great on their tests because they whiz through the questions and miss some important instructions. Usually this then means they get things wrong that they would have got right with a little more thought.
To avoid that happening remind your child that although yes, they do have a time limit, that reading everything carefully before they answer a question is very important and that there are no extra rewards for the kids who finish first!
Theses mandatory tests are important and the fact that you want your child to do the best they can is only natural. Hopefully by following these tips you can do just that.