It’s normal for children to experience test anxiety and feel stressed out when taking a test. They worry about not doing well, not having enough time to finish or they have some learning difficulties. Unfortunately, there is no escaping your child from taking the test but there is something you can do about it: you can help teach your child strategies to feel more relaxed before a test.

The following are 7 ways to ease your child’s test anxiety:

  1. Ask your child what they are most nervous about. It is important for you to be able to pinpoint the exact cause of their anxiety, to be able to target it directly. Allowing them the chance to express themselves will already be a form of relief. Then, together, you can both come up with ways to cope with it.
  2. Motivate them through positive self-talk. Changing your child’s negative mindset will help them manage their anxious thoughts. Thus, try replacing the negative thoughts with positive ones instead. For example, if your child feels that they won’t manage, instead they can say “I am going to do this because I know how!”
  3. Use mindfulness to teach them relaxation techniques. Since children have such an active imagination, the use of visualization exercises could be excellent for them. Ask them to close their eyes and imagine a happy and relaxed place. Focus on the details, such as the weather, the sounds, the smells. While doing this, remind them to take deep breaths. Then, if they feel anxious during the test, they can remember to visualize this place and it will help them calm down.
  4. Build their confidence by giving them honest praise to remind them of how successful they can be. Remind them that they are doing the best they can, and this does not mean that they need to gain full marks. Make sure to praise them on their homework and any skills that they have developed.
  5. Show them beforehand an idea of what the test most likely will look like by asking their teacher. This will help them know what is expected out of them instead of going in blindly. Then, review with your child the sample and help them prepare based on that. 
  6. Teach your children how to study and this way you will identify their best method to study. Not everyone is the same so what works for some children, might not work for others. For example, some children learn by walking around while reading out loud, or by using flash cards. 
  7. Ensure that your child feels good on the day of their test. You can do this by making sure they get enough sleep, eat a protein-filled breakfast, and give them loads of words of encouragement before they leave for school.

As I said, it’s natural for children to feel intimidated when tests approach but trying any of the above tips will help your children learn to cope and feel confident to try their best. 

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Mandy Brincat is a Gestalt psychotherapist who enjoys working therapeutically with adults on various issues. These include general mental health and wellbeing. She also has experience working with anxiety, victims of domestic violence and eating disorders.


  1. Cullins, A. (2019, May 3). 5 Tips to Reduce Test Anxiety in Children. Big Life Journal.
  2. Hurley, K. (2017, November 17). How to Help My Child With Test Anxiety | Parenting Tips & Advice. PBS KIDS for Parents.
  3. Walters Wright, L. (n.d.). 9 tips for helping grade-schoolers cope with test anxiety. Understood.