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How to help a nervous child study for tests

Published On: Sep 19 2011 08:03:08 AM CDT   Updated On: Sep 17 2013 09:06:11 AM CDT
Locker in school hallway

iStock / eyecrave

When a test is coming up, kids can get nervous. Some even get nervous on small tests or even if they know their facts well. With a few hints and a little preparation, parents can help a nervous child study for tests. According to, a child who is nervous about tests may have performance anxiety. Therefore, getting a child to relax and focus is the main goal.

Drink Water

According to the NY Daily News, a recent British study revealed that drinking water helped many kids perform well in cognitive tasks. Children who drank water right before a test scored an average of one-third higher than those who did not. Since it helped these children focus better on the test, it could also help kids focus better during studying. Being hydrated is good for overall health, but also may help put less focus on thirst or other discomfort related to being dehydrated. This lets kids put more focus on the test.

Play Educational Games

This is the computer and video-game age, so there are educational games on just about every topic. There also are board games and outdoor games that correspond with learning. When there aren't any, you and your child can make some up together. Playing educational games may help a nervous child study for tests for more than one reason. Most children enjoy games, so this will make learning fun. The action of playing may help relax a child's mind and ease symptoms of performance anxiety.

Study Outdoors

Sometimes a change of scenery can help to brighten a child's day. Many children enjoy the outdoors and, for some, studying outdoors is not an everyday routine. Take the study materials outside and study there instead of inside the home. You can even try studying at the park or on the beach. Sometimes nature and sunshine can be relaxing and soothing enough to help calm a child's nerves.

Talk To Your Child And Teach Relaxation

Sometimes kids may just need to get thoughts out. Let your child tell you how the upcoming test is affecting his or her thoughts. You can then explain the things your child can do to prepare for testing. Also explain some basic relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, to relax nerves.

Help Your Child Organize And Prepare

Together, parents and kids can gather all of the materials needed when studying for the upcoming test. Organize the materials in the order in which they will be used. Some may even wish to create a special container or folder for the materials. A practice test is good for many reasons. It can help a child study for the test because missed answers can be gone over until understood. This process may also help a child feel better about their abilities and relieve some of the nervousness and performance anxiety they feel.

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