4 Tips to help your child stay calm during standardized testing…or anything else!

Kids Martial Arts in Richmond - Fort Bend Taekwondo

Next week marks the dreaded STAAR testing for Texas public school students. And while Texas state official have approved measures to limit the amount of testing and limit the standardized test to no more than 50 percent of grades for the future, for next week, thousands of kids (and their teachers and parents) will feel some overwhelming pressure to perform on next week’s tests.

 

If your child is one of those who is feeling the pressure for the STAAR testing, here are 4 tips to help you help them reduce that stress. Not only will these work for standardized testing, but they’ll also work for any number of stressors for your child – and for you.

 

1. Exercise.

Yes – I’m repeating what I usually say, but it’s so true – moving the body helps kids and adults with more than just being physically fit! Physical activity, outside play, martial arts classes, and sports that get kids breathing hard and sweating all wake up the “happy” chemicals of the brain – endorphins. These chemicals relax us, improve our mood, help us sleep, and can even help the intellectual part of the brain grow. 

 

2. Work, Work, Work it!

Did you know that the brain’s intellectual part isn’t fully formed until the age of 20? Kids have to work really hard to keep their emotions in control simply because the emotional side of the brain, which is fully formed, is stronger than the intellectual side. So, while you may be fighting nature, you can help the intellectual side with the fight by engaging in “what would you do” scenarios with your child that gets him or her to really think about things. So, asking them questions like, if you come across a question on the test that you don’t know the answer to, what would you do, helps that intellectual part of the brain grow – and at the same time, helps them to come up with a “rescue plan” for when the emotions begin to take over.

 

3. Let them make mistakes

“Mistakes aren’t mistakes if you learn something!” Ask my students how often I say this – because its true! While we don’t want our kids to make mistakes, this is one of the easiest ways for them to figure out how to do things correctly – and, it also helps that intellect grow! By fixing their own mistakes, kids also get a great sense of accomplishment and often feel much more confident about themselves. When we, as adults, try to step in and fix the problem, while it may be a short-term solution, in the long run, it’s not what’s best for our kids.

 

4. Focus your wheel of thought

Kids (and a lot of adults) can often get stuck on a particular thought – and it’s usually always a negative one. While this concept takes a lot of practice, it’s really important for kids to understand that they are in control of their thoughts, both positive and negative. When I have a student who is “stuck” on that negative thought, we will draw a spoked wheel, and I have them list all of their emotions out on each spoke. I explain to them that you can dial your wheel to the positive thoughts when it gets stuck on the negative ones. Again, this takes practice and should be done while your child is calm, so that when those negative thoughts come to the forefront, they know what to do!

Thanks for reading! Questions? Thoughts? Let us know! 

Next week marks the dreaded STAAR testing for Texas public school students. And while Texas state official have approved measures to limit the amount of testing and limit the standardized test to no more than 50 percent of grades for the future, for next week, thousands of kids (and their teachers and parents) will feel some overwhelming pressure to perform on next week’s tests.



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