Afraid To Try?

So, Christmas seems a distant memory, Valentine’s day has been and gone and the Easter Bunny is getting ready to visit, and many of us are wondering where this year has gone already!

However, before we eat our weight in chocolate, there’s a small matter of Standard Assessment Tests (SAT’s) to prepare for!

I reckon there are about 4 ‘camps’ in which parents sit:

  • Yeay! Awesome, my child loves school, loves learning and these SAT’s will be like the best Christmas present ever.
  • If that’s what is part of my child’s education, then so be it.
  • My child is not academic and no matter how much you try to teach my ‘fish to climb a tree’ they’ll always do their own thing.
  • My kids going to be ‘ill’ this week then they don’t have to sit them.

I know parents in each camp!

From around the 13th May, most primary school children will undergo the national testing of how well they can climb trees as fish, monkeys, snakes and birds! I say it in this manner because EVERY child is different.

Remember exactly that…Every Child Is Different.

They learn at different paces, they all have different abilities, different interests and different goals in life.

The Facts

SAT’s were brought into play in between 1991-1995

They were introduced….“…in a political desire to regulate education, holding schools accountable. However, its form and nature also reflect educational and curriculum concerns and technical assessment issues.”

Taken from – ‘A brief history of a testing time: national curriculum assessment in England 1989–2008’ by Chris Whetton, National Foundation for Educational Research, UK, Published online: 20 May 2009.

This, however, has brought about more frustration for parents than ever before.

What can you do?

If you sense the tension in the air take a step back, remember these children are experiencing feelings of worry in a variety of ways and rightly so. They’re about to be tested on information that they may or may not have understood. They could be thinking, ‘what if I’m tested on the information that was taught when I was ill’, ‘what if I get tested on information I still don’t understand’, ‘what if I fail’. Now as a parent it’s possible to try and sooth these worries, but not always. They’re the total unknown to a child.

One interesting way that I have found to work is to address worries around SAT’s is to introduce positive thinking.

  • When you talk to your child try to focus their thoughts and words on their strengths, their ability to listen, ask questions, even their ability to talk to you about learning challenging topic (whether they understand it or not) – do this using positive praise and sometimes you may need to give overboard praise so they feel encouraged. They should feel that they’re opinions and feelings are valued and respected.
  • Talk about what you may have learned in that day, week, month. What challenged you in that learning. Think back to a time when you felt worried and were still able to overcome the situation. Show them that it’s normal and ok to feel uncertain at times.
  • Together, write down the worries and explain that once written down it’s a way of releasing these stresses.
  • Most of the time it’s the unknown that children cannot process or make sense of and that’s really scary for them, so reassure them that you are there no matter what.

My Experience and Advice…

Through my experience of the education system, as a parent, especially when iGCSE’s came around, I remember mentally and verbally, taking a step back from the whole stressful situation and thought everything happens for a reason and what will be will be. I had to trust in the fact that it was ok not to be able to be in control of my child’s worries and stresses. After all, feeling stressed is just wanting things to be different from how they are now, this isn’t the case for most.

The biggest piece of personal advice I can offer is this. Have trust in the future, sometimes we cannot control everything which lies ahead, and That’s Ok!

So, remember to always approach the situation with a calm mind. Easier said than done, but it’s possible. Make sure your child(ren) know that it’s ok to feel unsure and nervous, as this will encourage them to feel confident in their feelings and less likely to battle with themselves.

Finally, do something to take their mind off it all. First, meet them halfway and sit with them if they must revise and offer to help, then go out and enjoy the outdoors or an activity, game or visit somewhere exciting. Do something together that they’ll love to do.

Remember: Life is for LIVING!

Encourage the next generation to LIVE and try their best in everything they do. We learn from our mistakes and are then able to move forward.

This is the most valuable lesson in life.

With love and Positivity

Jennifer Barnfield

Positivity and Visualisation Practitioner