Next week, the testing marathon begins. The PSSA ELA (English Language Arts) assessment takes place from April 13 through April 16th, followed on April 23rd by the Mathematics assessment. So, if your kiddos seem a bit stressed or just sick of “test prep”, you’ll know why.
In spite of personal opinions about the PSSA, we all must acknowledge the reality and prepare accordingly. You may have heard these suggestions before, but I think they bear repeating. Start today to get your child ready so that he or she can put forth their “best self” and not feel anxious and overwhelmed by this lengthy test.
- ENHANCE PHYSICAL STAMINA
Your child’s physical stamina plays an important role in his ability to maintain alertness during the assessment. Pay particular attention to diet during this time. Eliminate junk foods, increase protein and be sure your child is well hydrated. Obviously, adequate rest is essential. Not only on school nights, but the intervening weekends as well, your child’s bedtime routine should be kept in place. This is not the time for a late night sleepover! No one knows your child better than you so consider the amount of sleep he needs to be at his best and make sure he gets it.
- REDUCE STRESS
Play and physical activity during this testing time will help your child relax and let off steam. If possible, make sure your kids play outside for a bit after school each day. We know physical activity reduces stress and periods of playful exercise will help your child let off steam and feel relaxed. Additionally, if your son or daughter is prone to anxiety, take the time to listen to their concerns. Sometimes, just an understanding heart can do wonders to reduce the emotional angst kids often feel during this time. If necessary, teach your child some deep breathing exercises and let the teacher know if you think your child’s stress level is critical.
- MAINTAIN READING ROUTINE
Even though your children are doing a lot of reading and thinking during the test, if is still important to maintain the at-home reading routine. Perhaps, you can change it up a bit by reading aloud or offering lighter fare, such as humorous stories. Revisit old favorites or search out few bedtime tales that will reduce anxiety and provide a chuckle, allowing your child to calmly drift off to sleep without worrying about THE TEST. Good luck!