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In previous generations, most students had to wait until they were almost out of primary school before they took their first big exam or test. The current generation, however, receives a larger test in the third year of education and it continues every two years throughout their education until they graduate from high school. Those are national tests that are provided through NAPLAN.

Times for Testing

There may also be a variety of other large tests as well, including those that are part of enrichment or opportunity programs. They may also be given in selective schools and include state-run math, or university coordinated English and science exams. From a very young age, children are now having to deal with the pressure of exams as they learn various skills.

The length of time that the exam takes can also be extended for younger children. During the third year of education, the children may spend up to 40 minutes or perhaps even more to take the 4 NAPLAN tests. These may even occur in the school auditorium, so the children are outside of the comfort of the classroom.

Testing for Skills

The majority of what will be tested is taught by teachers. They will help them to understand what they should expect and may even provide examples of questions that are given. Trial exams may also be provided for the students, especially when the NAPLAN is approaching.

Parents also can play a large part in helping children to deal with the pressures of these exams.

KidsMatter is a nationally based mental health initiative that is based in many schools across Australia. The program is designed to help children, but it also helps teachers and families as well. Parents can use this program to develop strategies to help their children.

According to the experts at KidsMatter, children are often able to deal with exams without too much of a problem. Parents and primary caregivers can also help their children deal with the issue and relieve much of the pressure associated with these exams.

Common Behaviors Seen in Stressed Children

Children may not vocalize the stress they are experiencing but they can show it through their behavior.

The experts at say the following behavior could be indicative of nervousness or stress:

Increased irritability

Becoming upset easily

Fidgeting constantly

Being Clingy

A lack of interest in normal activities

Many children may not be able to put their emotions into words. As a parent or primary caregiver, it is your responsibility to recognize when children are in need of more support.

How Can Parents Help?

  1. Being emotionally available for your children

Children may require additional comfort during times when they are experiencing high levels of stress. Parents and caregivers can help their children to be secure and confident during these times. By understanding how children feel and being receptive to those feelings, they help their children to have the attention and comfort they need.

  1. Openly Discuss Feelings

Your children may be reluctant to talk about the way they feel but you can encourage them to do so. As they speak, let them know that what they are feeling is normal and have empathy for what they are going through. By assisting your children to understand that it is okay to speak about their feelings, you help them to deal with their feelings successfully.

  1. Help your children to be confident

By showing your children that you believe in them, you teach them to be brave. In doing so, it helps them to face the situation head-on, even when they are dealing with nervousness. You can provide this benefit by giving your children positive feedback, encouraging them and celebrating any success. When you do this, your children will feel more confident when exams are approaching.

  1. Help your children learn how to relax

Children don't have the knowledge of relaxation techniques that we may possess. We can teach our children to stay calm by teaching them the importance of breathing slowly or meditating on positive things to manage their anxiety. Teaching your children how to relax can be an enjoyable exercise.

  1. Teach your children to think positively

Many children may naturally think that they can do something but teach them to have positive affirmations, even telling themselves out loud that they can do something.

  1. Be an example to your children

Your children can learn a lot about how to deal with anxiety and stress by following your example. Let them hear you telling yourself that you are going to do your best when facing a difficult task. Above all, stay calm and be positive when your child is feeling a high level of anxiety.

  1. Help your child to expect something specific

Talk to your children about what is going to take place during the exam. You can also talk to the school to learn more details about what is going to happen during the exam. Keep in mind that it is not out of the question for these big tests to take place off-campus.

  1. Help your children with problem-solving

Children are not typically born with problem-solving skills but it is something you can help them acquire. Help them with strategies to prepare them for difficulties they may experience during the exam, such as deep breathing exercises, taking a drink or water or letting the teacher know they are not well.

  1. Help them with confidence building tips

As an example, your child could look for an easier question when they are struggling to help boost their confidence.