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A Parent's Guide to Reducing Test Anxiety

Test anxiety help children

Springtime is a time of blooming flowers, longer daylight hours, allergies and TESTING. Did you know that in some states children start taking standardized tests as early as first grade?

Here are some facts about testing from the American Test Anxieties Association:

  • The majority of students report being more stressed by tests and schoolwork than by anything else in their lives.

  • About 16-20% of students have high test anxiety, making this the most prevalent scholastic impairment in our schools today.

  • 18% of students are troubled by moderately-high test anxiety.

  • Students who suffer from test anxiety perform about 12% lower than their peers

There are some things you can do to ease your child’s anxieties about the test process:


Gather all of the information you can find out about the test: dates your child will be tested, which tests he or she will take this year, the duration of the tests, etc. Once you know what’s happening, you can help your child feel ready for what’s ahead.


Talk to your child about why he or she is feeling nervous. Children who learn how to own and express their feelings are often able to easily overcome conflict and difficult situations later in life. Use this situation to teach your child skills that will help them become successful emotionally intelligent adults.

Related Reading: Nurturing Emotional Intelligence in Your Child


Speak with your child’s teacher about the getting a sample copy of the test that can help familiarize your child with the test. Use the materials to help reduce fears of what the test might look like. That will be one less thing for your child to worry about and every little bit helps.


Tests can be long and boring. Make sure that your child gets plenty of rest the night before the test. It’s equally important that you child eats a healthy breakfast the morning of the test. If the school allows for water bottles, make sure your child has one to sip on throughout the test. Sipping water can feel like a mini-break to kids.


Tests do have some level of importance, but they are just one measure of how a child is performing. Be mindful in how much emphasis you put on the importance of the test.


Remind your child that, no matter what happens with any test, he or she is a wonderful, beautiful, worthwhile individual who is deeply cherished and loved. If you stay positive, your child will probably stay positive too.


If you find that your child’s anxiety is not weaning, seek help. Talk to your child’s teacher, guidance counselor, or doctor to help your child overcome this anxiety. In the end, what matters is that your child is loved and supported as he or she develops into a happy and productive adult.


Download a FREE printable version of this checklist and post it where you can easily find it when test taking stresses arise.

FREE test anxiety help