Ok P7 parents, the time is fast approaching for the testing to start and that can only mean one thing – the end is in sight! But until it’s actually over and we collapse in a heap, or we’re found rocking ourselves back and forth in a darkened room, here is some sage advice to see these tests successfully over the finishing line.
Tip 1. Keep Calm
Because if you get stressed your child will get stressed. Just think, if this happens, all that time working with them on their homework, tackling tough topics, trying to inspire and encourage, and that investment on tutors may be in vain – so stay calm.
If the mum (and generally for some reason it is the mums – guilty as charged) is particularly stressed or knows they are likely to be, it may be a great idea if she removes herself from the house in the morning of the tests (under the pretence of being busy with some shopping or something) and lets dad or a family friend take the child to the tests. This may sound truly bizarre but the ambition is to keep the child calm in the run up to the tests and a stressed influence is not going to help.
Tip 2. Positivity
Be positive and do your best impersonation of Mary Poppins over breakfast ensuring everyone is happy, smiling and nutritionally fed. Singing is allowed at this point but depending on ability this could end up being detrimental or even painful, which, needless to say, would not bode well for success.
Tip 3. Chocolate
Don’t forget to dish up a little chocolate to improve brain processing power but if child turns a funny colour (light greenish or white) or complains of stomach ache they have probably eaten too much. Be on the safe side and limit supply to a couple of squares.
Tip 4. Be Like A Swan
Be a swan with an air of elegance but paddling like crazy underneath, frantically working to keep everything smooth and everyone happy. Keep a special listen for sibling rivalry, making sure the very first flint spark is put out with an industrial fire extinguisher (whilst keeping calm yourself of course).
Tip 5. Alarms
Set several alarms to encourage you to get out the door early so you are not rushing e.g. ‘leaving in 10mins’, ‘leaving 5mins’, ‘get out now’, ‘you’re going to be late!’ Missing shoes can often be the reason for lateness so make sure you avoid this pitfall and all shoes are lined up and ready at the door the night before (think, Mary Poppins again).
Tip 6. Games In The Car
On the way to the test, play the ‘add the numbers in the number-plate in front‘ game. This will offer a welcome distraction from the panic that may start to set in and will get the child’s cogs moving. Don’t panic if they get some of these wrong in their haste to win. Keep smiling.
Tip 7. Don’t Turn Back
Once you’re in the car and heading to the centre, keep going. If you forget your admissions card, your pencils or the child is wearing odd socks – just smile through it and don’t go back as it will only add additional pressure and you’ll end up having to rush which will cause stress. The centre will let you in without the admission card as they’ll have a photo of your child and they’ll also have spare pencils –although I’m not sure they have a stash of matching socks but rest assured, no-one will be looking.
Tip 8. Final Advice
Give the child your last pearls of wisdom and any absolute final advice (writing the correct answer is always a good one), wave goodbye or if you can get a hug in front of their friends, good for you and you should consider yourself a winner right there and then!
Now and only now are you allowed to collapse.
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