In many states children start taking standardized tests as early as first grade. With the help of the following tips, you can ease your child’s anxieties about the test process:

  • Get the facts. Find out the exact dates your child will be tested and which tests he will take this year. Check to see if the tests will be different in any way from the ones he took the year before. Once you know what’s happening, you can help your child feel ready for what’s ahead.
  • Talk to your child. Find out whether your child is feeling nervous and if so, why. Often children feel better when they voice their fears, so give your child a chance to talk about the process. If your child is afraid of failing or doing poorly, your reassurances will help him feel less frightened.
  • Help your child practice. If your child is familiar with the format of the test, he’ll feel more prepared. Ask his teacher or check your state’s Department of Education Web site for some sample questions or other materials that can help him get acquainted with the test.
  • Take care of the basics. See that your child gets a good night’s sleep the night before the test and eats breakfast that morning.
  • Keep your cool. While tests have increasing importance, they are just one measure of student learning, so try to keep the process in perspective. If you remain calm, chances are your child will probably feel calmer, too.
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