As children across the country are preparing for taking the SATs examinations, here are some simple tips for maintaining a happy status quo at home, at school and for the child.
- Sleep and relaxation. Primary aged children should be getting between 9-11 hours of sleep a night dependent on actual age. Try to encourage quality sleep by restricting electrical devices at least 1 hr before bedtime. Promote reading or quiet reflecting activities such as jigsaws or puzzles. If your child has difficulties switching off try some simple relaxation tasks such as listening to relaxing music/ soundscapes such as waves or appropriate audio books. Simple relaxation breathing techniques, simplified yoga /Pilates relaxations movements. Children who have never experienced methods of relaxation will find many of these suggestions alien or funny, however it is beneficial to try small segments of relaxation techniques and build upon the new skill set.
- Healthy eating and a clean diet. A good healthy clean diet will ensure mental clarity , prevent mood swings and behavioural issues. Foods high in sugar content such as sweets , chocolates & fizzy drinks will caus
e sugar spikes within the child’s system, this makes the body feel high and then rapidly a contrast of a low . This in turn will effect how the mind and body can concentrate on simple tasks. Sugar spikes within the diet will effect the overall system and can effect long term concentration. A poor diet will also cause lethargy due to the continual highs and lows of sugar the body is trying to cope with. A healthy eating lifestyle rich in fresh fruit and veg, plenty of water, minimal processed foods and home cooked or organic when possible will ensure a equilibrium for the body therefore preventing the highs and lows of a poor diet .
- Activity. Ensuring plenty of activity, specific exercise or sports will allow the child’s body to burn off excessive energy, restore natural balance of hormones that are produced by the body when exercising. The simple task of doing something normal whether it’s a regular physical sessions such as a swimming lesson or an impromptu family game of football will reinstate a natural balance
- Positive mental attitude. Encouraging an up beat spirit about matters in general will encourage a positive mental attitude and a consistence approach to any stressful situations. This will give the child the tools to cope with stressful situations
If when discussing SATs make sure the conver
ations always end on a positive note. Look at the whole picture of education and not just one test Discuss ways of preventing negative thoughts or feelings by introducing positive thoughts and feelings. Discuss mindfulness, how behaviour can effect others, discuss how small changes can make a big difference to the way others feel. Laugh and smile. Set goals, tasks, rewards, or objectives beyond the SATs week to reinforce that the SATs week is just one week of their life. Focus on things that have nothing to do with education such as a family event, a non school sporting event, or occasion .
Hopefully some or all of these tips will help you, you children and family cope with examination stress .
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