SATs: How to help your child manage exam stress

It is just a few more days until SATs week 2019 and Isaac, like thousands of Year 6 students around the UK has been studying hard since the beginning of this school year.

SATs are national tests that children take twice during their primary school life. Firstly, at the end of Key Stage 1 in Year 2, and then secondly, at the end of Key Stage 2 in Year 6 and are an indicator of the progress your child has made at school so far.

For kids, SATs tests are probably their most important exams to date so it’s natural they’ll get worried about them and Isaac is no exception. He has put pressure on himself to achieve “Greater Depth” and we have noticed that he has more irritable in the last couple of weeks.

How to help your child cope with exam stress

Don’t pile on the pressure – Reassure your child that you are proud of them whatever happens.

Eat well – eating the right foods (fresh fruit & vegetables) can help concentration levels and prevent them getting hungry during the tests, however, letting them choose their breakfast and dinner for the week will keep them happy and give them something to look forward to.

Sleep – It is important that they get a good nights sleep. Turn off technology an hour before bed and let them read before they go to sleep.

Encourage exercise – Exercise can help boost energy levels, clear the mind and relieve stress so Isaac will be continuing with his swim training during his exams, but even going for a walk or cycling around the block will help.

Backstroke - Isaac

Have a treat to look forward to – Plan something for the end of the exam week – perhaps a movie night at home or a trip to their favourite park to celebrate the end of the week.

Have a worry box – get your child to write down their worries on a bit of paper and pop it in a worry box. If you have access to a chiminea or a barbecue you could also set light to it and watch their worries burn away – maybe you could make some S’mores or toast some marshmallows whilst you are there too.

How else do you help your child de-stress?

15 thoughts on “SATs: How to help your child manage exam stress”

  1. It’s amazing just how much they have to go through at that age so all the more you can do to help them manage their stress (a great skill for later in life as well!) the better!

  2. My daughter it’s at this age but it’s incredible the pressure put on children with regards to STATS so you advice not to pile on the pressure sounds very sensible as they are already under enough. Exercise is a great way to let off some of that extra steam.

  3. Eva is starting hers next week and we havent mentioned them at all. Her teacher doesn’t mention the word SATS either, they just do a different kind of work with no pressure!

  4. Hope the SATs go ok. N did his year 2 ones last year and although he was aware of them, he was quite blase and did better than everyone expected he could. He says he’s looking forward to the year 6 ones! Because they get breakfast at school each day before them. I think he’ll change his mind the nearer they get. I don’t like the idea of how ridiculously hard they are, but in a way there’s an advantage to getting children used to sitting formal exams. When I was at school, I was lucky as I’d done a grade 3 music theory exam in a formal exam setting. But most of my friends had never sat a formal exam until their final GSCE exams.

  5. These are some great tips. Jack is in year 2 so has SATS at some point but the school have made a point of not telling us when they are so that the kids don’t get too stressed which I think is quite a good idea. We will only know when we get the results.

  6. Poor little things getting stressed by exams, doesnt really seem fair does it. These are great tips though, I hope lots of parents see this post!

  7. This is fab. Way too much pressure on kids to preform these days. So anything that takes the stress off is great xx

  8. I love the idea of a worry box! I remember all my big school exams, and I have to say that the teachers sometimes put too much pressure on the kids, and the poor kids focus more on achieving scores than enjoying the process of learning and the value of knowledge.
    Good luck to Isaac, I am sure that he will do amazing! I know that it is a difficult time for him right now x


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