What to Do if Your Child Has Test Anxiety

What to Do if Your Child Has Test Anxiety

Children from kindergarteners to high schoolers can suffer from test anxiety. It can impair their ability to do well in their classes and affect their confidence at school. If your child is struggling with this, here’s how you can help.

1. Talk with them

First, the best thing you can do is talk with your child about their struggles. Target the core issues by asking questions. For example, you could ask, “What’s your biggest worry about taking a test?” Listen to their concerns and talk them through it. You can also help ease their workload. If your child is in high school or middle school, help them balance their schedule to incorporate study time. Time management will be useful and help them relax when they need to prepare for their upcoming test.

2. Teach them to relax

Relaxation strategies can help children to calm their anxiety before or during a test. There are several simple strategies, including deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and stretching. Deep breathing can regulate blood pressure and slow the heart rate. Progressive muscle relaxation involves tensing certain muscle groups – such as the face, arms, and legs – and then relaxing them. You can also talk them through some of their stress, and encourage them verbally. Explain that although this test may be important, it’s not the most important thing. Reinforce that their value is not based on a test score, and all you really want is for them to do their best!

3. Help them prepare

Good study strategies can ease your child’s test anxiety. Take the opportunity to study with them, and maybe teach them some study tips that worked for you! You can also encourage them to talk to the teacher and ask for a study guide. Try to know ahead of time what the test format is, and anticipate possible questions. Help your child prepare for a test all semester long by teaching them how to take notes effectively. At the dinner table, ask them to explain what they learned that day. Explaining material to someone else can be a very effective way of learning.

Your child’s anxiety can feel overwhelming to them, but you can be a huge support! Use this opportunity to help them grow, and cheer them on.