Does Your Child Suffer From Test Anxiety?
This Is How You Can Help
Test anxiety and overall anxiousness toward academic performance are far from uncommon. Around 33 percent of US students struggle with performance anxiety before and surrounding a test.1
Does your child get sick the night before a test? That’s because test anxiety can cause physical symptoms. Shortness of breath, excessive sweating, headaches, and panic attacks are some physical indicators of test anxiety.1,2
Test anxiety can be related to many things:
- Fear of failure/disappointment
- Poor test history
- Lack of preparation
- ADHD symptoms
- Lack of quality sleep
Internal symptoms of test anxiety can cause panic attacks, irritability, difficulty concentrating, restlessness, procrastination, and negative self-talk.2
It’s hard seeing your child struggle when you know what they can do.
So, what can you do as a parent to unlock their full potential?
Help Your Child Prepare
Sometimes, our kids don’t tell us about things going on at school until the very last minute. You know – that permission slip that needed to be signed yesterday?
Kids aren’t always the best at keeping us updated and informed, which means that we, as parents, have to take some time to ensure we stay informed.
This is especially important when it comes to tests because we can help them study and get prepared ahead of time.
Ways to get ready:
- Get to know your child’s schedule. Whether you keep a copy of their syllabus, keep in contact with their teachers, or ask them at the beginning of each week what they’ve got going on, knowing your child’s academic schedule is the best way to stay informed and to know when tests are coming up.
- Start early. The earlier your child starts studying for a test, the more time they have to become comfortable and familiar with the material on the test.
- Reframe negative self-talk. When your child starts to spiral downward and says something like “I can’t do this!” you can help them by interrupting that thought and telling them, “You are smart and capable,” or, “Doing your best is what’s important.”
- Personal care. Making sure your child is getting adequate nutrition, getting the right amount of sleep, staying hydrated, and maintaining a good hygiene routine are sure ways they can maintain a positive sense of self.
- Practice self-soothing. Because panic attacks and anxiety often occur right before or during a test, it’s a good idea to make sure your child knows how to calm their breathing to ease their mind and soothe their body. This allows their brain to get back to focusing on the test.2
Preparing for a test is one of the best ways to ease your child’s anxiety and help them feel confident when they walk into the classroom.
Because you’re not able to be there during the test, helping your child practice with study guides and making sure they know ways to calm themselves can help them feel prepared. Practice makes perfect, and sometimes kids need help learning how to practice.
What to Do After the Test
Resetting after a test is an important aspect of self-care and the ability to keep a positive outlook so that anxiety is minimized when the next test comes around.
Post-anxiety decompression helps the brain and body feel calm and safe after the stress of a test. When your child can decompress, it signals to the brain and body that the situation they experienced is safe and can be repeated.
This means the next time a test comes around, their brain and body will be more confident to go through that same experience since it didn’t lead to excessive burnout.
Good ways to help your child decompress are:
- Offer congratulations. When you congratulate your child, you’re not only validating their hard work and effort but also solidifying the completion of the test. This helps prevent them from ruminating on any questions they had trouble with or feelings of uncertainty, allowing them to be in the present moment.
- Talk about it. Sometimes, your child won’t be able to stop thinking about their performance simply because the test is over. Talking it out is a helpful way for your child to express their concerns and receive positive feedback, reassurance, and validation. This boosts your child’s self-confidence and willingness to try again if they didn’t get the result they wanted.
- Get moving. Releasing excess tension through physical movement is a great way to reset after a test. It’s also a great way to spend quality time with your child. You could walk, listen to music and dance, or even work on arts and crafts. If your child doesn’t want to get moving, watching a movie or doing something that interests them is another good way to relax and decompress.
- Review results together. The more you support your child through safe and open academic reviews, the more your child will feel able to confide in you and want to review their grades with you. Practicing non-judgment and giving positive or forward-thinking critique during this is important. That way, you and your child can go over what didn’t go so well and problem-solve together to see what can be improved for the next test. Maybe you two need to implement a new learning strategy or a different self-soothing method.
Managing Test Anxiety – Confidence Is Key
When it comes down to it, all test anxiety is created around the idea of “I’m not going to do well.” This can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. 3
If your child goes into their test believing they’re going to fail, it automatically triggers anxious feelings.3 The brain becomes hyper-alert because it doesn’t know the difference between what’s causing the anxiety or not – just that there is some sort of “threat.” The true threat is their fear of failure or disappointment.
When there’s a threat, the body goes into fight or flight mode, which means:2
- Racing thoughts take over
- Increased heart rate
- Overall lack of concentration
This is where NeurOptimal® comes in to help your child stay calm, confident, and resilient so they can ace that test. Neurofeedback helps train your child’s brain which improves their overall sense of well-being and optimizes their performance in school.
By training the brain to function at its best, NeurOptimal® can improve focus, attention, and cognitive processing, making it easier for kids to learn and excel academically.
With NeurOptimal®, your child can be adaptive and self-assured in an academic environment. Neurofeedback can even help kids feel more confident, improving their ability to connect with others and navigate social situations.
NeurOptimal® Neurofeedback Helps
Join our neurofeedback moms Facebook group to connect with other parents and learn more about how you can help your child succeed academically and tackle test anxiety. Don’t worry Dad, you’re invited, too!
In our group, you get:
- Awesome information and insight into how NeurOptimal® can help your family
- To connect with like-minded parents who share similar experiences as you
- Updated information on how to manage stress, ADHD, and more!
- Support and community!
What are you waiting for?
Come connect with us! Join the Neurofeedback Moms Group.
- How Test Anxiety Affects US Students
- 6 things to know about test anxiety
- Tips For Beating Test Anxiety
Disclaimer: This site contains information on general health and wellness topics. Please note that Neuroptimal® has been designated a general wellness product by the FDA. The information on this site or in any linked materials should not be construed as medical advice. The information in this article is not intended to replace any recommendations by your physician.