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3 ways to help your child become stress free on test day

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Depending on your state's educational calendar, the annual dreaded mandatory testing has begun. For my 4th grade daughter, next week starts testing for us. She will take tests in writing, reading and math this year and is expected to score high enough to pass into 5th grade. Needless to say she is stressed and anxious.

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As parents we know what the pressures of testing can do to a person. I recall feeling anxious, overwhelmed, nervous, I couldn't eat the day of the test, and this was all in college; never-mind the 4th grade. So anything I can do to help Olivia do her best on test day, I'm willing to do.

These are a few tips I've tried and they've helped greatly for Olivia. I encourage you to learn your child and come up with fun and relaxing activities to help you both be stress free on test day.

1. Cooking with REAL food
Yes, I know this may sound silly, but taking time to cook a real meal can help to relieve stress. On the week before the test, we plan for her to cook her favorite meal. We write down a list, plan our ingredients, read the directions and out comes a great (hopefully edible) meal. Without her knowing, we've practiced the skills she will need during test week; reading, writing and math through measuring. Allowing her to take the lead cooking also relieves some of the anxiety and reassures her that she can do anything! She will have the confidence to excel on the test.

2. Wear your success socks
With all the pressures of testing, the last thing that should be a worry is what to wear. The whole week of testing, my daughter wears whatever socks she feels. Matching, different colors, all the way to her knees, this week anything goes. Whenever Olivia starts to feel anxious during the test, she looks down at her crazy socks and they give her a smile. Believe it or not, this simple little act of expression, can help to calm nerves on test day.

3. Hold the covers
We all know that sleep is vital component to being prepared for any day of the week; but after your child's teacher and tutor have drilled all week, your child may need a little more than just 8 hours the night before a test. So for Olivia and I, we spend the weekend in sleep-over mode. Friday night we'll order a pizza, rent a movie and have a girls night. We'll sleep until our eyes opened on Saturday, then we'll make breakfast, run some errands, stop by the park, then go home and spend the rest of our weekend in our pajama's. - I allowed her time to decompress, watch whatever she wanted on TV (with me of course) and just totally relax her brain. On test day she had enough sleep to keep her mind awake and do her very best.

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