Prepare your child for testing in 9 steps

Children have started to participate in different tests from an increasingly young age. Whether it’s admission to a particular kindergarten or an assessment for a language course, sports or other activities, the level of stress your child feels depends on how you approach the situation. Here are 9 ideas to help you build a healthy relationship with exams, applicable from age 5 through to adult life.

  1. Be emotionally present

In times of stress children need more attention, understanding and connection to feel confident and safe. Be open and responsive to how your child is feeling and offer attention and comfort when they need it. He may be nervous and agitated and react unusually on other unrelated topics, notice what is going on with him and help him express his feelings.

2. Talk to him about emotions

Encourage him to express his feelings. Listen with empathy so they feel understood and know that what they are feeling is normal. Explain that acknowledging and expressing feelings helps them to manage them. You can even tell him how you felt when you were like him, unless you had the same

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3. Help him trust himself

You can teach him to trust himself if you let him and encourage him to do things on his own, saying “you did it” when he succeeds. That way you direct all the credit to him. Another way is that when you see that he’s trying hard to do something he likes and doesn’t succeed at first but persists and eventually succeeds, you can get his attention. “Did you see that you didn’t get it right the first time but you kept trying and eventually you still succeeded?” “It was frustrating at first, did you get annoyed?”

4. Help him develop relaxation skills

Take five deep breaths with him. Practise in a relaxed moment and imagine what it will be like after he makes it through the hard time, how he will feel, what he will do.

5. Teach him how to think positively

To say “I’m trying to do it” instead of “I won’t succeed” or “I wonder how to do it” instead of “I don’t know”.

6. Lead by example

Think out loud:

“I’m stressed about having a presentation, I’m nervous. When I’m nervous I take a deep breath, I prepare well with my presentation and I read on the internet about the partners I’m meeting.”

7. Help your child set expectations

Discuss how the testing will take place. You can even visit the location with your child. You can role-play the testing at home and express different emotions as the child.

8. Prepare solutions for any problems that may arise

Sit down together and imagine what uncomfortable situations might arise during testing and invite him to find solutions to them. For example if you get stuck and don’t know the answer to a question what can you do? Take 5 deep breaths, drink water, move on to the next one you know the answer to and then come back.

9. Teach him tricks that increase his self-confidence

A useful trick is to go through the questions you know first and then come back to the ones you find more difficult.

Engaging children in these activities creates a resource base that directly influences self-esteem. The child will be more confident in their own strengths and have social relationships that will fulfil them.

We can gladly support you with customised programmes dedicated to the needs of the group you are leading. Drop us a line and let’s meet to talk about your needs and our possibilities to support you. Please contact us at or 0729039511, we welcome your requests and suggestions.

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