9 Anxiety-Busters for Kids Taking Standardized Tests
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Practice Meditation and Deep Breathing
"Just relax!" Commanding your child to chill out isn't going to help combat his anxiety. The NYU Child Study Center says that relaxation is a skill that requires learning and practice, and advises keeping relaxation practices short and simple. Weave deep breathing and moments of meditation into everyday life, and make it a family affair. For example, if you feel a bit of road rage coming on while your kids are in the car, take the opportunity to pause and say, "I feel annoyed and need to take a few deep breaths. Will you guys take some deep breaths with me?" Or, if your child is getting frustrated with a homework question, encourage him to pause, take some deep breaths, and return to the difficult question in a moment or two.
Psychology Today advises teaching kids the "Balloon Breath" technique — breathing slowly and deeply into the belly (as if filling up their entire torso like a balloon), focusing attention a couple of inches below the belly button, which helps people feel calm and centered. Remind your child that he'll need to use quiet deep breaths (in and out of his nose) on test day.
NexT: Use Guided Imagery