SATs and relaxation are two concepts that don't exactly go hand-in-hand. In fact, the introduction of SATs in 1995 has commonly been linked to childhood stress, as our children are the most tested in the world.
The pressure to do well can dampen the enjoyment of learning for all children, regardless of ability, and can induce anxiety and feelings of failure. This is why teachers underline the importance of taking time out to rest when children are studying for SATs.
From sporting activities to listening to music, there are many ways you can help your child relax. Try these top 10 stress busters:
- Just as important as agreeing a set time for your child to do revision each day is setting aside some time for your child to unwind and participate in activities they enjoy. So schedule regular breaks, which will help to motivate them.
- Especially important to your child's ability to relax and get a decent night's sleep is ensuring that they stop doing work at least an hour and a half before bedtime, otherwise their mind will be too active for sleep.
- As well as a comfortable study area stocked with stationery, set up a comfortable relaxation area, too. It can be filled with cushions and soft fabrics, with music and incense, and favourite toys and books.
- Take your child on plenty of walks during their breaks. They help stimulate the mind and a blast of air will really refresh their brain cells.
- Listen to your child's worries and anxieties and encourage them to be open with you. Plenty of hugs, reassurance and positive encouragement will go a long way to helping them to relax.
- Help them to unwind at bedtime with plenty of relaxing bubble baths, soothing music and fun bedtime stories.
- Don't give your child any sugary foods before bedtime. Hot milk is a great drink to help soothe and relax your child.
- On the actual SATs day, make sure they arrive at school in good time so they don't feel rushed or stressed and give plenty of encouragement.
- Model positive language and behaviour – never talk about ‘pass’ or ‘fail’.
- Give your child something to look forward to after SATs, such as a day out or a special treat, regardless of their results.