It’s standardized testing season again in our neck of the woods. Is it in yours?
Over the next few weeks my boys will be sitting down at a computer and working their way through one of the many standardized tests given at our schools (we’re in elementary & middle school right now) for reading, math and science. I’m not thrilled with the increased emphasis on testing (this sure wasn’t going on when I was a kid) but there’s no escaping it in the public school system.
What’s worse – I’ve been reading recently about how some schools ask parents to contribute snacks for kids during testing week. Recommended items include Goldfish, Blow-Pops and Snickers! Would you want your kids eating that kind of junk right before a test? Yikes – neither would I. Our elementary school hands out peppermints during testing. Claims that peppermint boosts concentration intrigue me but I’m just not sure that handing out candy during tests is a good thing.
Here are some healthier ways to get your kids ready to rock their standardized tests:
Get Sleep – A good night’s sleep is critical for optimal brain power the next day. Sleepy kids will have a harder time concentrating for the full test period and may not perform up to their ability. (Children aged 3-6 need 10 – 12 hours of sleep per night, ages 7-12 need 10 – 11 hours and ages 13-18 need 8 – 9 hours.)
Eat Protein – Skip the sweetened cereals and serve your child a protein packed breakfast instead. I usually serve eggs or nut butter on whole grain toast. Greek yogurt is another good option. Studies show that hungry kids do less well on tests, so make sure your kids eat a good breakfast before they leave the house on testing day!
Take Omega’s – Boost your child’s brain health with a dose of Omega 3’s, the essential fatty oils found in fish oils, seeds and foods. If you are not already doing fish oils, I would recommend getting started at least a few weeks before testing time for the benefits to kick in. Fruit flavored gummy versions are available for kids who are not yet able to swallow pills. You can also get Omega 3’s through seeds and whole foods like chia seeds, salmon and dark green veggies.
Be Positive – For some kids, testing is no big deal but for others it can be difficult and stressful. Spend time talking with your child about the test ahead of time. Have them take a practice test at home if you think it will help. Assure them all they need to do is their best!
What do you do (if anything) to prepare your kids for standardized testing?