Blog,  Health

Helping Your Child With Test Anxiety

I think it’s safe to say, as a parent, you always want your child to do better than you. This is especially true when I see them behaving exactly like me. My sweet little second grader deals with some anxiety – specifically test anxiety.

In school, I had THE WORST test anxiety. I remember in 5th grade begging my mom to write me a note saying I never had to take a test again. My struggles with an anxiety disorder started way back when. I also bit my nails like crazy. (Fortunately, neither of my girls do that!)

My little sweetie is taking the NWEA elementary assessment test this week. Last week, her teacher came up with a great plan for parents to come up with celebrations for their students based on their performance this week. My girl was so excited about the celebrations we agreed upon and was excited to see her results.

She succeeded yesterday on her testing and was excited to have earned one celebration at least. But she was concerned about her testing today. You could see it all over her beautiful face, the tortured concern and angst about how the test would go today. I told her I was confident in her abilities and that I knew she would do well. I reminded her to read slowly and completely and just do her best. As long as she did those things, everything would be okay.

Wise Words About Test Anxiety

As I shared those words with her, I thought back to a French professor I had in college. I had gotten close with her and shared my test anxiety. She was surprised to hear it since I was doing so well in class. Then she said something that has stuck with me nearly 17 years later.

“It’s just a test. Once it’s over, you’ll never think about it again. It won’t matter in six days, six months or six years. It’s just a test.”

This morning, as we walked to the bus, I could see her once smiling face twisting into anxiety, her shoulders began to rise tightly around her neck and my heart broke a little. I turned to her as the bus came down the road and said smiling softly as I brushed the hair out of her eyes, “Hey … you’re going to do great today. I just know it. Remember, just read slowly and make sure you understand the questions before you answer. Give it your best and I know it will be good enough.” Then hugged her tightly and held on just a few moments longer than usual.

Her beautiful smile beamed at me as she got onto the bus. She waved wildly as the bus took off toward school. All morning I’ve said little prayers she heeds my words and gives it her best and doesn’t let the anxiety get the best of her. I know what a challenge it will be.