School Stressors—Timed Tests January Newsletter
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Timed Tests – YIKES!!

Many kids get nervous with tests, especially timed tests. The stress created often is based in fear: failing the test, receiving a bad grade, or concern that his parents will be mad if he doesn’t do well. Stress can often shut down thinking and processing skills.

Have you ever been so nervous for a test that you can hardly see the writing on the paper? These problems start appearing at very young ages and continue throughout adult lives. Wouldn’t it be ideal to have a strategy to prepare for testing situations?

Focusing on breathing makes a tremendous difference in being able to perform. Learning takes place most effectively when your child is relaxed and enjoying his work.

What can you do to help him prepare for tests or stressful situations? You already know it—implement the See It. Say It. Do It! Process for test preparation!

When you introduce and practice these activities, be sure at the outset to pick a time and a place when and where you won’t be interrupted. Turn your cell phone off, and let other family members know that you’re having some quality time with your child. The same holds true for your child. You both have to believe that at this time there is nothing more important going on that’s going to compete for your attention. By investing this time now, you’re going to save a lot of time in the future.

If your child complains that he has too much homework or that it takes too long, you need to do a quick assessment. Ask her and her teacher how long the homework assignments should take.

Does your child agree or not with your teachers estimate?

If she agrees, great. If not, ask her how much time she feels she needs. If you have a 20 minute assignment (per your teacher), but your child often needs additional time to complete the task, then ask her if 30 minutes (or whatever you decide upon) is enough.

Now, get a timer, preferably an old kitchen timer where you can turn the dial to the agreed upon time and watch it click down. Set the clock to 30 minutes, or whatever the agreed time is. The rule for this night’s homework assignment is that she will only work for 30 minutes. When the timer goes off, whether or not the homework is completed, she is done with her homework (make sure you have worked out this arrangement with her teacher). However, if she was messing around, losing attention and concentration, the timer is shut off until she is back on task. Then the timer is re-started.

Most of the time, she will finish her assignments way ahead of the proposed time. Having an “end point,” which is represented by the clock, is similar to having a frame or box around the task, as used in the “Get Rid of the Clutter” Activity. This represents closure and organization for her. Now she sees that it is possible to complete the task.

Purpose: Discover a strategy for taking timed tests.

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Did you miss the first part of School Stressors–Homework? Click here to read it now.

New Vision Article!

Read Dr. Hellerstein's new article Vision Problems in Children with Sensory Processing Disorder.
With love and gratitude,

Lynn Fishman Hellerstein, O.D., FCOVD, FAAO

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