As much as schools try to make the assessment process as unintimidating as possible, there’s no doubt that for a child it can often be a rather daunting process.
Actually, if we’re honest – sitting tests and being interviewed is pretty daunting for us adults too!
So here are some tips and ideas to ensure that your child is not only well-prepared for the assessment but is also feeling calm and confident in themselves and their abilities.
Tip 1 – do you know what’s actually required?
Planning and preparation are two very important things you can help your child with.
Make sure you have a clear understanding of all requirements of your specific scholarship application process. Have the forms been completed? Does my child need to sit an exam, or prepare for an interview, or both? Perhaps they need to put together a portfolio, or practise and perform at an audition?
Plan out each requirement with plenty of time, so there is not a feeling of being rushed – rather a feeling of being ready.
Tip 2 – a good night’s sleep boosts concentration!
Getting a good night’s sleep is really important for your child’s concentration on the day.
We know that their quality of sleep is greatly affected by erratic blood sugar and insulin levels. An important way to balance these fluctuations is to provide a good quality source of protein together with vegetables and healthy fats at the evening meal and eliminate night-time desserts or ‘treats’ which are high in sugar.
As much as they may protest, it’s also a good idea to switch off any electronic devices at least an hour before going to bed to help the mind transition to sleep more easily.
Tip 3 – meditation to calm the mind
Teaching your children simple meditation techniques such as closing their eyes and focusing on their breathing is extremely helpful. Mediation is proven not only to calm the mind and reduce stress but also to improve focus and memory! You can find lots of simple guided meditations for children online.
A quick meditation might be a good idea for you too – we know this process can be just as stressful for you as a parent as it is for your child! And remember, the calmer you are, the better they will feel too.
Tip 4 – time to get the blood pumping!
Research shows strong evidence that regular exercise (at least 3 times a week) has a direct effect on reducing anxiety and improving concentration in children. It’s also a great way to clear their minds after a long day at school or as a break from studying.
Check out ‘Just Dance Kids’ for something a little bit different. It helps to make the exercise process fun too – you might even want to join in!
Tip 5 – fuel the body with long lasting energy
After all of that exercise, your child will need a whole lot of nutritionally rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, good fats and protein to replenish their energy!
It’s a great idea to boost concentration with a healthy breakfast, like a smoothie. Try mixing banana, strawberries, raspberries, yoghurt, full-cream milk/almond milk with added pre-soaked oats.
Some scrambled eggs with smashed avocado on whole-grain sourdough toast will also provide long-lasting energy.
For ideas on how to make healthy lunchboxes that actually get eaten, check out our blog here!
Tip 6 – watch your expectations – put yourself in your child’s shoes
Yes, we absolutely want our child to realise how important the interview and test process is. However, we need to be a little bit careful that we’re supporting, not pressuring them to succeed.
Unrealistic expectations can easily create stress in both your child and yourself – which often leads to less than desired outcomes. Instead, try chatting to your child and ask them if there’s anything else you can be doing to support and encourage them.
Tip 7 – reach out!
And finally, if you feel that your child is beginning to feel stressed about their upcoming assessment, reach out to family and friends who may have gone through the process. It may help your child to talk to another who has been through the process to discover that it’s really not that scary!