NAPLAN and anxiety: When the pressure is too much for your child  

The countdown is on to the next NAPLAN tests in South Australian schools, due in May 12-14, 2015.

Since the introduction of the NAPLAN testing in our schools, I have witnessed a growing number of parents in Adelaide expressing concerns regarding elevated levels of anxiety in their child leading up to testing day.

When these concerns arise at Attuned Psychology, I always ask parents to describe the symptoms experienced by their child.

I do this to identify whether the child is experiencing a “normal” and expected reaction to testing or if the symptoms are clearly distressing for the child and need to be addressed further.

Symptoms of anxiety in children

Some symptoms which would be classified as appropriate and normal for the situation are:

  • butterflies in their tummies
  • minor heart palpations
  • sweaty hands
  • anxious thoughts that come and go about the testing

Examples of concerning symptoms would be:

  • anxious thoughts regarding the testing that won’t go away
  • unable to fall asleep
  • persistent fears about failing or not being able to perform on the day
  • in some severe cases, vomiting

Seeking help

As a parent, you know your child best.

If you feel that your child is demonstrating high levels of anxiety before the NAPLAN test, it would be worthwhile to seek psychological advice to give your child the best coping strategies possible to deal with this situation and other anxiety provoking situations which may arise in his/her life.

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