Here are nine helpful ideas to share with your children or to consider yourself when helping children to prepare for the NAPLAN test:
1. Gauge your child’s response
Most children are not overly worried by these tests. If your child isn’t worried about them, neither should you. Try to see them as an opportunity for them grow and learn and try not to create unnecessary angst for you child by incessantly talking about or worrying about the test.
2. Familiarise your child with the test format
Looking over some example test with your child will help to prepare them. Focus on things like reading the questions, where to write their answers and checking their answers if they get time, rather then whether their answers are correct.
3. Don’t focus on the results, but rather the process
If your child is anxious about the tests, encourage them to just try their best and to become comfortable in the exam environment. More of a ‘better to learn exam skills such as time management and reading/answering the question now, than when your about the sit the HSC’ attitude.
4. Encourage your child to talk about their concerns
If your child is nervous about NAPLAN, find out what’s worrying them and have empathy towards their concerns. Maybe talk to them about a time you were worried about a test. Try something along the lines of “I remember I was a bit nervous when I started having test at school, but don’t worry it will get easy with time and it will ask similar questions to what you’ve been learning about at school”
5. Give your child perspective and encourage them to try their best
If your child is excessively anxious about NAPLAN, help give them some perspective by asking them “what’s the worst thing that could happen? You’re unsure about an answer– just guess. The sun will still rise tomorrow and we will be proud of you for just trying your best.”
6. Be positive
Approaching new opportunities and challenges your child faces with a positive and caring attitude is on of the best influences you can have on your child. Being apprehensive and nervous is a natural part of life, so helping them to deal with these feelings will help them cope with new situations like; moving schools, joining a new club or sitting tests.
7. Help them to relax
Provide your child with some relaxation strategies and remind them that feeling nervous is okay. Simple techniques like taking three deep breathes, having a drink of water and rereading questions are useful for everyday circumstances, as well as for their NAPLAN test.
8. Prepare them for the day
Having a good nights sleep and a good breakfast will help your child to concentrate and try their best.
9. Encourage them to do their best and try hard
Choose your words carefully and focus squarely on the effort rather than the result.