Overcoming NAPLAN Nerves: Top 10 tips to help your child prepare

It’s that time of year again. School is back for term 1, the summer holidays were so much fun, and students across Australia are getting ready to sit the annual NAPLAN assessment. For many children, the mere thought of taking a test can be enough to send them into a tailspin of anxiety. If your child is feeling nervous about the upcoming NAPLAN tests, there are a few things you can do to help them prepare and hopefully ease their fears.

1. Talk about it: The first step is to have an open conversation with your child about their feelings surrounding the NAPLAN tests. Ask them what they’re worried about and why. This will not only help you better understand their concerns but also give you an opportunity to provide some reassurance and guidance.

2. Encourage positive self-talk: One of the best ways to calm nerves is by using positive self-talk. Help your child come up with a few positive affirmations that they can repeat to themselves leading up to and during the assessment. Something as simple as “I am prepared” or “I can do this” can make a world of difference.

3. Get plenty of rest: A good night’s sleep is crucial for both physical and mental well-being. Make sure your child is getting enough rest in the days leading up to the NAPLAN tests so they can go into it feeling refreshed and alert.

4. Eat well: What we eat has a direct impact on our mood and energy levels. Make sure your child is eating plenty of healthy foods in the days leading up to the NAPLAN tests, so they feel their best on test day.

5. Avoid last-minute cramming: Trying to cram everything in at the last minute will only lead to more stress and anxiety. Encourage your child to review content gradually in the weeks leading up to NAPLAN so they don’t feel overwhelmed come test day.

6. Take breaks: It’s important for children (and adults!) to take breaks when studying for any type of assessment. Encourage your child to take regular breaks throughout their study sessions so they can come back feeling refreshed and ready to learn more.

7. Limit screen time: In the days leading up to the NAPLAN tests, it’s important that your child limits their screen time as much as possible (that means no social media!). Too much screen time can increase stress levels and make it harder for children to focus when it comes time to hit the books.

8. Do something fun each day, ideally outdoors: Another way to help reduce stress levels is to make sure your child is still doing things they enjoy each day, and being in nature has been shown to have a calming effect on our mind and body, so make sure your child is spending some time outside in the days leading up to the tests. This could be going for walks, playing sports outside, riding bikes with friends, or simply reading their favourite book in a park. Anything that brings them joy will do!

9. Try the RiSE+ NAPLAN practice pack. The RiSE+ NAPLAN-style practice tests can help your child become familiar with; using the computer to answer assessment questions, pacing their progress, knowing how to respond using the test controls and reviewing their answers during an assessment. Plus, they get to reattempt the practice tests as many times as they like. This is a great way to help your child feel ready to tackle the test on their terms.

10. Celebrate effort over outcome: Regardless of how your child does on the actual assessment, it’s important that you celebrate their efforts leading up to it. Help them see that even if they don’t get the results they were hoping for, they’ve still accomplished something great by putting in the effort required to prepare for such a big test!

These are just a few suggestions to help your child prepare for NAPLAN. The most important thing is to have an open dialogue with them about how they’re feeling and to provide support every step of the way. Good luck!