Tests Coming Up Soon? 5 Tips on How to Reduce Stress
School can be tough. The American Psychological Association reports that one-fifth of children say they feel worried about their lives, and many are worried about school. When there’s a test coming up on the school calendar, kids may start to feel especially anxious and stressed.
Kids can experience stress just like adults, but they may show that they’re worried in a different way. A stressed or anxious kid may show these symptoms:
- Differences in sleeping and eating patterns
- Isolation from family and friends
- Stubborn or aggressive behavior
- Being loud and disobedient
- Stomach pain
It’s normal to feel a little anxious or stressed about an upcoming test. If your child is feeling worried, here are five tips on how to reduce stress:
- Eat Healthy Foods
Good food is fuel for a happy brain, so maintaining a healthy diet is especially important around test time. Foods with caffeine and sugar can give kids too much energy and cause them to worry more. Replacing these junk foods with filling and nutritious meals helps kids think more clearly and feel less stressed.
- Sleep Well
Getting a full night’s rest is important for reducing anxiety and staying sharp. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day can help kids feel rested and calm. To help your kids sleep well, make sure their bedroom is dark and quiet. It also helps to turn off all screens an hour before bedtime.
Exercising is a great way to get kids’ mind off of their tests. As they focus on different activities, kids will spend their energy on exercising instead of worrying. Some ideas to get kids moving include going on a walk, visiting a park, playing sports and bike riding.
- Use Stress Relief Activities
There are many activities that can help kids deal with worry. If they feel nervous, they can take slow, deep breaths to help them calm down. If they’re having trouble talking about how they feel, kids can share their emotions through writing or drawing.
- Show Your Kids You Support Them
As test day approaches, sharing a hug or encouraging words is a great way to remind your kids that they always have your support. By talking with your child about what’s bothering them, you show them you care and help them feel calmer.
These tips can help kids get through a test. Once the test is over, a little celebration doesn’t hurt! If stress is overwhelming and interferes with your child’s daily life, reach out to a health care provider. They can help your child feel better when they are testing in the classroom and beyond.
About the Author
E. Rosellen Dedlow, RN, MSN, PNP-BC, PMHS is a pediatric nurse practitioner at the Cone Health Developmental and Psychological Center