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What age does test anxiety kick in?? My 6 year old had a melt down this morning over his first spelling test today....

I never had test anxiety as a child really and not sure how to encourage him and soothe his fears.... Anything I should do or not do so this doesn't get worse through his school career which is just beginning? We practiced all week and he knows all the words and I kept trying to explain that he just writes what he already knows but he was a total wreck...

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Asked by Anonymous at 1:47 PM on Aug. 16, 2013 in General Parenting

Answers (6)
  • You can practice taking tests at home.

    Answer by Dardenella at 1:55 PM on Aug. 16, 2013

  • Explain that when you are prepared there is nothing to be nervous about.
    Maybe give him an example of something that he's already great at, and doesn't even think twice about doing, and show him that his spelling is the same way.

    Answer by PartyGalAnne at 2:01 PM on Aug. 16, 2013

  • Plus encourage him to simply try his best. No one can ask for more than that.

    Answer by silverthreads at 2:16 PM on Aug. 16, 2013

  • Practice and try and tell him that whatever he result is it will be okay. Just try his best and even if his best isn't a 100 it's okay. If is really bad you could try and talk to someone about coping skills for anxiety. Some people are just new anxious than others. Best to teach him ways to deal now before he enters his teens and adult hood really stressed out

    Answer by nnh_mama at 2:36 PM on Aug. 16, 2013

  • Maybe there are a few coping skills you can teach your son for when he gets anxious. Taking a few slow, deep breaths while you clear your mind for a moment often helps. Also, when he starts to get all spun up about the test, ask him to think of the worst thing that can happen. He'll probably say he's afraid of getting a bad grade. So at six years old, what's the worst thing that can happen if he gets a bad grade? He has to relearn the material. No biggie. Assure him that all you want from him is his best, and he won't get in trouble for a lessthan perfect score if he really tries as hard as he can. He may be afraid of disappointing you.

    Answer by Ballad at 6:15 PM on Aug. 16, 2013

  • Explore what his worries actually are. He must think it's important to "do well" (be perfect) on the test or that it's somehow important not to fail (whatever that means to him.) It sounds like he has internalized that his worth/value are tied to his performance, and this is extending to tests.
    Now is the time to confirm, and actually mean it, that your love & approval of him are unconditional, they aren't contingent on his performance. Of course you want him to do well & to be successful, but it's important for him to be clear that this is not what makes him worthy, valuable, or lovable. When we use our approval to influence behavior, we run the risk of kids internalizing that they AREN'T loved, valued or approved of UNLESS they please us. Or they're only acceptable when they please us or when their performance pleases us.

    Answer by girlwithC at 7:34 PM on Aug. 16, 2013

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