As the end of the school year approaches, many kids and teens will take their end-of-grade and end-of-course tests. There are several things parents can do to ensure their children aren’t stressed. Make sure your kids get a good night’s sleep. Don’t cram until 2 a.m.! Parents should also make sure their children eat well the night before and the morning of their tests. Several studies have linked poor eating and sleeping habits to stress.
Parents should encourage their children, replacing negative thoughts with positive ones to help further reduce stress. Ideas include:
- “You can do this.”
- “You’re successful.”
- “I believe in you.”
- “I’m here for you.”
- “I’m proud of you.”
- “It will all be OK.”
Children who are reassured and told they will do well are often much less anxious.
Help your kids to be prepared several weeks before the tests begin so they feel much less apprehensive and jittery the morning of. Deep breathing to clear their minds can also help. Think outside the box to make it fun for kids and to reinforce positive thoughts. Ideas include playing feel-good music when they wake up, or leaving them sticky notes with encouraging messages.
Vanessa York, MA, LPCA, is a therapeutic triage specialist with Cone Health Behavioral Health Hospital. She received her bachelor’s degree in professional counseling from Liberty University. York has worked with adolescents for 25 years.