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4 Strategies to Help Your Child Through Testing Season

It’s that time of year again, Spring Break is done and the students, teachers, and parents are all looking forward to the summer break. But… we all have to make it through testing season before that much needed break arrives.

As a therapist that has worked with children, families and teachers for many years, I have always seen an uptick in behavioral reports, anxiety, and irritability during this home stretch. This week, I received the April and May calendars for my children’s school and it reminded me of the “why?” behind this increase in stress.

There is weekly testing beginning the middle April until the end of the school year. This means changes in schedules, pressure to make a good score, and the extra responsibility on teachers and students.

Sometimes this stress can be a helpful motivator to push through the end of the year and other times this stress can be overwhelming and leave parents, teachers, or students feeling stuck.

If you find yourself or your child having butterflies in the stomach, a racing heartbeat, headaches, irritability, or a sense of dread leading up to this testing seasons you may benefit from some of these helpful strategies.


Create a Sleep Routine


Sleep is an important part of mental wellness and even more crucial during times of stress. Look at structuring your sleep routine to set yourself or your child up for success.

Reduce access to screen time on school nights, create a clean and clutter free sleeping environment, reduce noise and light disturbances in the sleeping area, and for the younger ones, use the transition time before bed to connect through reading a familiar story or singing a familiar bedtime song.

If you or your child are having worries about the next day create a space where you can write down those worries to store away during sleep time.


Incorporate Exercise


Exercise is needed especially on those days that movement is restricted for testing. Find ways to help students get their energy out. Stretches, push/pull activities, and any opportunity to move the body can be helpful.


Balance Nutrition


Nutrition is also key to engaging the brain and can aid in calming the nervous system. Eating a healthy breakfast can set you up for success to make it through those morning hours.

If you or your child feel overwhelmed with anxious feelings; chewing gum, sucking on sour candy, or having a crunchy snack can help reset the nervous system.


Practice Deep Breathing


Deep breathing can also be helpful when preparing for times of increased stress. You can practice when you are in a relaxed state to prepare for the heightened times.

One way to practice is to take a deep breath in through your nose and hold it for a 3 count and then slowly breathe out through your mouth for a 5 count. Repeat this process 5-10 times or until you are feeling calm.


Bonus Tip: Ask for Help


Know when to ask for help, if these strategies do not seem to be enough for you or your child, we are here to help. At Silver River Counseling, we have passionate and specialized clinicians that will work to meet your individual needs.

Whether you need services, for yourself, your child, or your family as a whole, we look forward to connecting with you to provide support.

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