So, we are back from vacation and the week has started much the same as every week in this house since Christmas break; one of the kids has a fever and one seems like he is on his way to getting sick, yet again. And it seems like after talking with parent friends this week and seeing many facebook updates lots of you folks are tired of winter and frankly are just having the blues.
Well, here is some sunshine ...I have been made an ambassador for the show The View! Every week for the next 3 weeks I will give a preview of the shows' daily guests, surprise updates and even respond to some discussions that take place on the show! Today on the The View, Thursday, February 26th an entire hour show based around the topic "Trying to have a baby?" I had a very easy time conceiving my first child but had a tough time conceiving my second. It seems to happen to a lot of couples. Whether you are trying for your first or your 5th, they will provide lots of helpful information, so tune in!
On to the question of the week: "My child is in third grade and she is already stressed for the State Tests that take place in April. What techniques can I use to help her deal with her stress?"
Aaaaah, State Tests. It's not that I don't believe in testing or even that I think the tests are completely unfair but the emphasis put on these tests and the fact that in many cases it is the only determination in a child's higher education, has truly turned them into the evil beast of education and has destroyed the joy of learning. Obama says "change" is on the way regarding the assessment of children, so lets keep our fingers crossed.
Until change comes, I think that it is great that you are looking to find ways to help your daughter with her stress. Stress can be brought on by many reasons and it is important that we teach our children coping mechanisms to get them through the tough times, whether it is for tests or for other reasons.
I have found that what works for one student may not work for another so it is important for parents to try different coping skills , especially as children grow and the tests become more frequent and more difficult.
First and foremost is to make sure your child is prepared. If they struggle in a certain subject make sure you discuss with the teacher how they have been doing on assessments in class and if they feel there is a need for extra help. A child will always feel less nervous if they feel prepared. If need be, splurge on a tutor with good references.
Practice breathing techniques (yoga breathing is great!) This is important throughout the test taking experience. Children often break down in the middle of tests because they feel overwhelmed. Constant and systematic breathing can keep a child's stamina up and help keep them calm and focused.
Keep a chart or list that describes what they know and how they are prepared for the test. For example for a literacy test a child might write - "I know what character traits are", "I know what a plot is", "I know what details are", etc.
On most tests I recommend that children look at the questions first. This way they know exactly what they should be looking for in the passages that they read. In math, students should always scan the answers first.
Children should have a plan for when they are confused during an exam or don't know an answer . Take a deep breath, close their eyes, count to ten, raise their hand for help, wait for the proctor to come over, guess if they really do not know an answer, etc.
Parents need to encourage their kids to do their best and not make threatening remarks in the case that they do not do well. One student I know, began to cry during her exam because her mother told her if she did not "do well" there would be no space for her in a top middle school and they would have to move.
Some other stress reliever tips when studying or preparing for exam:
Taking a break to blow bubbles
Kneading Play-Doh or putty
Getting involved in a yoga, Tai chi or any martial arts on a regular basis
“I am a participant in a Mom Central campaign for ABC Daytime and will receive a tote bag or other The View branded items to facilitate my review.”