Your child is acting extremely on edge, and it’s starting to affect you as well. You want them to feel good and to face test week in a good state. It seems impossible. That’s why we’ve compiled some game-changing advice and practices you can start incorporating at home.
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Moving on, here’s how to deal with test anxiety. But let’s look at what it is first.
Overview: What Test Anxiety Is
Test anxiety is exactly how it sounds. It’s the pressure before taking a test and all of its negative impacts. Even teenagers and full-grown adults get test anxiety. It is very common. Some individuals and children are just not good at facing pressure.
Do not be impatient with them. Do not judge. Help them overcome it because that’s the main goal. If you teach them how to do it now, it can save them for the long run.
Symptoms To Look Out For
We’ll make it easier for you. If you don’t know what to expect, these are some crucial things to look out for:
- Physical: physical symptoms will typically be the easiest to spot. These symptoms are the evident consequences of negative mental and emotional processes. Shaking, sweating, headaches, and nausea are some of the physical symptoms that could conjure up. Adults need to stop these processes in their tracks by calming their child down before it becomes a full-on panic attack/episode.
- Mental: a negative mindset will be easy to spot since the child will project it out. Their behavior will show that they don’t have confidence. They’re frustrated. They’ll be focusing on all the negatives. This will affect their entire behavior.
- Emotional: test anxiety can cause many negative emotions in the child. Anger, sadness, irritability, and even more variations. And unlike adults, children are typically much more open when it comes to expressing any of their emotions. So, look out for your young one if you spot these.
Change And Train Their Mindset
School and tests are important. As a parent, you know that. However, success and performance should never be the top priority. Those are things to strive for, but they do not come first. Your child’s well-being comes first.
Parents who expect their children to perform excellently in everything they do and only give them validation or affection after doing so are raising a child in a highly questionable manner.
While anxiety can be an inherent trait, it can also be a learned trait. Perhaps you’ve unconsciously fostered test anxiety in your child. Maybe you were exaggerating the test’s consequences and importance.
Now your child has picked up on that. Let’s face it, many parents are concerned about their children’s behavior, but usually, that behavior can be traced back to the parents’ behavior and teachings.
Tests are important, and some tests are even more definitive. It’s important to spell that out to your child, but not to overdo it. Don’t make them think that it will be the end of the world if they can’t pass that one test.
As an adult, you know that life is much more nuanced than thinking some test is life and death. Plenty of other opportunities arise as long as we keep positive.
So, start with their mindset. Reframe radical thinking. That’s where negativity breeds. Teach them a more wholesome way of thinking. Broaden their perspective. Tell them that:
- The test is important and achieving positive results is possible. Effort, positivity, and remaining calm will help. Reassure them that they’ll be helped when they need it. However, do not foster overdependence. Teach them so that they can do it themselves.
- However, more importantly, you should make it a point to them that it’s just a test. They don’t need to be the best. They don’t need to put their blood, sweat, and tears into achieving it. Unless, of course, that’s what they want to do! If they want to be the best, then let them be. Your job is to get them through their obstacles, not to project any unhealthy desires that are unmet inside of yourself.
- Reduce the importance of the test, so there’s less resistance. They will be less anxious when you make less of a big deal of it. The objective is to pass. They will pass the test much easier with less stress.
Of course, some children operate even better when in stress. Who shines when the going gets tough. But not every child is like this. So, for children who fold under pressure. The main objective is to reduce as much stress as possible by developing a healthy mindset.
Teach Them How To Be Calm
Don’t underestimate a child’s ability to learn. Meditation and mindfulness might seem like lofty activities to be teaching a child, but they’re not. As we’ve stated before, what you teach them in their childhood consistently will set them up for the rest of their life. So bear in mind the importance of this.
Calming strategies include:
- Breathing exercises: there are countless exercises and teachings on breathing online. So, just start up your Youtube app or go on a search engine to learn them with your child. They can seriously help, mainly to prevent anxiety attacks.
- Meditation: meditation is very underrated. Consistent training in this area does not only improve mental health, but it affects physical health, and it affects overall well-being in the long run. The National Library of Medicine has published an article on how long-term practice of meditation can decrease age degeneration in the brain.
Foster Self-Confidence And Positivity
Teaching your child to believe in themselves, their worth, and their abilities to overcome their tribulations is so important. In fact, please don’t skip this in anything they do ever. Reassure them constantly until they start believing in themselves. This is especially important for children who aren’t inherently self-confident.
In a gentle but consistent manner, reassure them that they have what it takes no matter what. Remind them of this, especially in times of self-doubt. Do this consistently while you help them learn for the test. Or tell their tutor to reassure them while they’re studying. Whatever it is, this is one of the things to prioritize.
And we’re not talking about fostering delusion or being overly rewarding to a child, especially if they are displaying disruptive behavior. We are talking about inner strength and self-love. Two things that are overlooked in a system where external success is much more valued. Please don’t forget that it all starts from within.
As a parent, you can’t protect your child from every stressor in life. Your job is to support and encourage them through their challenges. If you notice your child is showing signs of test anxiety, make sure they get the help they need.
We hope this article has shed some light on this issue. Teaching a child isn’t easy, but with the right tools and mindset, it can be highly fulfilling.