EveryParent: Education


5 coping hacks for test anxiety

As much as we may dread it, tests are a fact of student life. But for some kids, classroom quizzes, state tests and college entrance exams can take an emotional toll – regardless of their age or academic level.

If you're concerned your child may be getting anxious about tests, look for signs such as trouble sleeping, irritability, difficulty concentrating and restlessness, experts say. If you notice changes, try to provide some much-needed balance with these five coping tips:

  • Take the edge off.
    Relieve some of the intense pressure by making sure your child understands it’s OK not to be perfect.
  • Listen, Listen, Listen. 
    Encourage your child to express their feelings and validate them. Use phrases such as, “You seem worried...” Avoid minimizing phrases such as, “It’s no big deal.”
  • Encourage rest and relaxation. 
    Ensure your child fits in time to relax, such as enjoying coloring, music or other calming activities.
  • Keep a routine. 
    A consistent schedule can provide a sense of security. This can be especially helpful at night to ensure your child is getting enough sleep.
  • Set the example. Stay calm. Your child is watching you to determine how to respond to their anxiety.

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Haggling over homework? Try these expert tips

Homework can be a daily struggle for some families. Try these expert tips to ease the battles and make homework a little less painful:

Set up a station: Whether it’s a desk in a bedroom or a corner of the kitchen table, a designated homework station can help keep kids on track. Be sure the station is quiet and screen-free, with all supplies in one spot so there’s no need for your child to get up for that pencil or calculator.

Encourage independence: No one wins when parents do their kids’ homework. Urge your child to try their best and let them know that no one expects perfection. If they’re consistently struggling, reach out to your child’s teacher. 

Go online. Unsure how to help solve that “new” math problem? Go online and explore. Try Khan Academy, a nonprofit educational organization that offers free online tools for students, or explore the online resources available through The School District of Palm Beach County.

Check in at the library. The Palm Beach County Library System offers several programs to help with homework, research or other school work. They include two online initiatives, Live Homework Help and Ask a Librarian, and two databases, World Almanac for Kids and Kids InfoBits. These programs require a library card, but a student or parent can get one within minutes of applying. Visit the library’s website and check out the Research & Homework tab.

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Getting them to school on time, every day

Missing just two to three days of school every month, or 10 percent a year, can cause children to fall behind. That can mean a third grader who hasn’t master reading, a sixth-grader who’s failing courses or a ninth-grader who’s giving up and dropping out. 

Here are some tips to help ensure your child gets to school on time, every day:

  • Establish and stick to basic routines.
  • Encourage your kids to get to bed as early as possible. That will help them wake up on time.
  • Talk to your child about the importance of school attendance. Don’t assume they know the long-term consequences of missing school.
  • Think of a back-up plan (a relative or neighbor) to help you get your child to school if you have a problem — like if another child is sick or if your car breaks down.
  • Ask for help from your child's guidance counselor if you're having problems getting your child to school every day.
  • Stay in contact with teachers – or ensure your older kids do so on their own – so they know what they missed and can easily catch up on the work.
  • Consider the reasons why your child, particularly a pre-teen or teen, is avoiding school. If you’re worried, reach out for help through Palm Beach County’s Children’s Behavioral Health Collaborative.

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