​How to reduce your child’s stress levels in the run-up to their 11+ exam

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For many years now, the 11+ entrance exam has been a part of the English educational system. It is a test taken by pupils at the beginning of Year 6. The exam is used to select or decide pupils who are academically suited for grammar school or independent schools.

In preparation for the test, there is always a lot of pressure on parents and children alike. This is because the outcome of the exam determines your child’s path through the education system. The 11+ exam is a big thing and it takes most students more than a year to prepare.

The preparation and high expectations from parents can lead to high levels of anxiety and nervousness. To help with this, we’re going to discuss how you can reduce your child’s stress level in preparation for the 11+ exam.

1. Be an early bird.

Early preparation is the best and it will go a long way in the quest for success in the 11 plus exam. Encourage your child to start early with reading and vocabulary building exercises. This will allow them to study at their own pace without much pressure.

2. Love them.

Remind your child that you’ll always love them regardless of how they do. Let them know that your love for them will not be affected by their performance in the exam.

3. And breathe

Keep calm – you the parent must ensure to keep calm at all times. If your child notices that you’re anxious, you might transfer this to them and this can lead to more stress. 

4. Relax

Parents should teach their child how to relax when they feel tensed or under pressure. Allow them to take a day off to relax and take their mind off the exam. Encourage them engage to take part in different relaxation activities such as listening to music, meditation, dancing or sports. This may sound counterproductive but it is for stimulating their brain and makes them more ready for the exam. Years ago, one of my students was extremely nervous about her exam, she was literally shaking. Her mum simply took her to play tennis for the entire day, she sat the exam the following day and ended up doing extremely well. 

 5. Positivity.

You should encourage your child to be optimistic, help them to develop a positive growth mindset. This will go a long way in building their self-confidence and long-term academic skills. Keep encouraging them to visualise a successful outcome. You can even teach them affirmations and create a morning routine around positivity and personal growth.

6. Take out the pressure.

Try not to let your child feel that success in the 11+ exam is a do or die affair. You should not place the test on a pedestal. It will be too much a pressure if your child feels like the world will come to an end if they fail. 

7. Read together. 

Read to them before bedtime and get them to read to you as well. You can also ask them questions about what they’ve read. This is a way great of building comprehension skills.