My son has to take a standardized test this week. He is nervous. He told us that it’s really important that he does really well otherwise he won’t get into a good middle school. Whoa, whoa, what?! I don’t know where he got that from but he certainly didn’t get it from us. Once we knew how he was feeling, we started to deprogram him. We’ve told him that the test doesn’t matter, that it’s a very small part of a big picture, that he’s going to end up exactly where he’s suppose to be. With all that said, I wanted to offer him some firm suggestions on ways to feel better while he’s taking the test:
1) He’s been wearing a bracelet that I had made (pictured above) and when he looks at it, he’s reminded to breathe. (If any of you would like one, send me a note through the contact tab and I’ll send one for you or your child)
2) He takes three deep breaths before starting a test so he can clear his mind and prepare himself to focus.
3) He does a visualization before tests. We started doing visualizations/meditations before bed probably three or four years ago. We got them from a great series of books by Maureen Garth. The first one we got is called Starbright. In the book, she walks you through setting up/ visualizing a garden. My son “constructed” his garden, which has expanded and changed over the years, and each night I lead him through his garden to go on an adventure-meet up with a pal named Panda, an ocelot named Ozzie or some other animal we may encounter on our way. So now, right before my son takes a test, he goes to his garden and drives around in a fancy car while all his animal friends come out of the bushes and say a few encouraging words. He says it really helps him.
4) Finally, just relax and do your best.
I know test taking is nerve-racking, especially when you’re eleven. I just want to try to give him some tools to help calm himself enough to get through those times with relatively little stress.
Deep breaths for everyone!!