How can you change the way your kid sees exams--rather than dreading and fearing it? Helping your child view test taking as a meet-able challenge and as a way to grow (rather than a menace) will do much for their self-esteem and their education. Here's how...
Tests are one of those necessary items in a child’s life. It is the only way to evaluate what they’ve learned and if they are learning at the level they should be. As a parent you understand this. Your child, on the other hand, does not. To many children, tests are the enemy in their quest for being a kid; enjoying their life and going to school.
Helping your child view test taking as a meet-able challenge and as a way to grow (rather than a menace) will do much for their self-esteem and their education.
You can start preparing your child to do well on tests in school before they are even old enough to go. You can do this by teaching them to be organized, to follow directions, to stay on task and by engaging them in activities and conversations that make learning fun.
It’s also important to know your child’s learning style. Knowing how your child learns allows you to present materials in such a way that they will comprehend and understand what is being taught. Communicating this information with your child’s teacher is also essential in easing your child’s anxiety when it comes to learning and taking a test.
I’ve already mentioned the need to teach your children to be organized, to follow directions and to stay on task. But let’s take a closer look at each of these and how they help your child become a better and more relaxed test-taker.
- Teach your child to be organized from the earliest stages of toddlerhood by requiring them the rule of ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’.
- Teach your child to be organized by playing games with them that require sorting things into shapes, colors and like-kinds of other features.
- Engage your child’s help in organizing craft supplies, sorting table ware, books, movies, etc.
- Teach your children to follow directions by playing games such as ‘Simple Simon’, ‘Mother May I’ and ‘Red Light, Green Light’.
- Teach your children to follow directions by cooking with them. Allow them to follow the directions on the package or in the cookbook to make cookies, muffins, mac and cheese and other kid favorites. NOTE: Cooking also enhances their math skills (measuring) and vocabulary skills.
- Write out a list of chores for your child to do and instruct them to complete them in the order listed. This also teaches children to stay on task.
- Children will learn to stay on task when given a certain amount of time to complete tasks such as getting ready for school, doing homework, cleaning their room, taking a shower/bath, etc. Some parents set timers to keep their children on track. Others ring a bell or simply tell them time is up. Find what your child responds to best and is least distracting to your child and go with it.
Make learning fun
Make sure you and your child learn something new each day. Look up the habitat or diet of a bug you see while taking a walk. Learn the process for making candy or cheese. Find out what an astronaut has to do to become an astronaut. It really doesn’t matter what-just learn something. By learning ‘fun stuff’, you child will be more receptive to learning the required things.
Taking tests will also be less frustrating if you teach your child to approach them as part of the learning process instead of the enemy.
The subject matter at hand
So far everything I’ve said is preemptive. But there are things you can do to help that are directly related to the subject (and test) at hand.
- Communicate with your child’s teacher via email or parent portal websites to be made aware of upcoming tests.
- Study with your child. It never hurts to brush up on your skills and knowledge.
- Quiz your child. These practice runs build confidence.
- Help your child discover methods suitable to their learning style to retain the information needed to take the test.
- Make sure your child eats a healthy diet and gets plenty of rest; both are proved to help students do better in school.
- Don’t pressure them. As long as they do their best that’s all we have the right to expect of our children.
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