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Virtuoso CEO Renae Azziz tours across Indiana to help ease ISTEP anxieties

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5 tips to help your child during the ISTEP testing period

Indiana School Psychologist Renae Azziz said this year's tests have been a stressful and contentious issue for educators and parents alike. What about the students taking the test? Many already face pre-test anxiety. This anxiety will likely cause testing fatigue.

In response, Azziz is offering five ways parents can help their kids through the mental and physical stress before, during and after the upcoming ISTEP exam period to set a healthy tone for next year.

  1. Recognize the signs that your child may be anxious or worried about the upcoming exams. Loss of appetite, withdrawal, problems sleeping, changes in regular behavior patterns, fidgeting, and stomach aches are all signs to watch out for.
  2. Understand that the anxiety is a real issue and does not reflect laziness, lack of motivation or lack of capability of the student. Validate how your child is feeling inside. Comments such as, “Just get over it” or “Stop worrying, the test is no big deal” invalidates a child’s feelings and often times increase anxiety.

  1. Avoid being overly critical of the process. Refrain from speaking negatively about media reports in front of your child. Your opinions and feelings about the the test influences your child’s overall sentiment about the process.
  2. Help them prepare mentally by using visualization, rehearsal, relaxation (4-square breathing, deep SLOW breathing) and other techniques at home and at school.
  3. Praise and reinforce, before, during and after the exams, even if the outcome is less than expected. You need to set a tone (feeling) for next year.