As we say good-bye to Spring Break and say Hello to April, I cringe just a little bit. April is the month of cramming in last-minute tutoring sessions and anxiety begins to build up in anticpitation of mandated state testing.
Why, oh why must there be so much pressure put on teachers and students when it comes to state testing?
Whether we agree with it or not, millions of Texas students take the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) every spring. As a former public school teacher and a mommy with school-aged kids, who have been taking the STAAR every year since 3rd grade, I’ve gathered a few tips for you to help your child feel more calm and confident during STAAR week.
Tip #1: Get a good night’s rest.
Ensure your child goes to bed at a reasonable hour. My son plays sports and those practices last a little too long. So during the week of STAAR testing, I tell the coaches they won’t be seeing him for practices because he needs his rest.
Tip #2: Breakfast is too important to skip.
Provide a healthy breakfast with protein. You’ll want to minimize the sugar and carbs intake to help keep their energy level stable for a longer period of time. For the past few years, North Texas McDonald’s locations offered a free breakfast to students in grades 3-8th and for teachers on testing day.
Tip #3: Special note and support.
Stay calm the morning of testing day. Support and praise your child to help lessen any anxiety they may be feeling. A great way to send out positive vibes is by writing a note to your child and giving them a few words of encouragement. Place the note in their back pack or lunch box to find at some point during the day. For those older kids with a cell phone, send a quick text before school or at lunch time to let them know you’re thinking of them.
Tip #4: Free play and exercise.
Taking the STAAR means sitting in a desk for most of the day with few breaks. Give your child more time to play outside. Take them to the park or go for a bike ride in the neighborhood. Providing your child with some type of physical activity will help burn off that extra energy and they will be able to relax sooner and sleep better.
Tip #5: Celebrate.
It’s been a long week for your child, let them know you appreciate their efforts during STAAR testing with a special treat. My boys love getting treated to frosties after a long week of testing!