Someone once told me, that when you become a parent, it is like your heart is walking around outside of your body.
That you feel every hurt, pain, stress and worry they go through, like it was your own. Whilst I nodded along, I didn’t really understand it until my eldest arrived kicking and screaming into the world nearly 12 years ago!
I was always able to kiss or tickle her troubles away; the distraction technique is one that is really underestimated, yet over used in my household. However, as the years have rushed past, the power of “Mummy Magic” has become weaker and weaker as her stresses and concerns have crossed over into pre-teen angst, confidence issues and exam stress.
Like many children over the UK, she is managing the ever-increasing pressure of exams and academic experience that are way ahead of what she should be experiencing at 11 and a-half.
In my day to day coaching, I work with parents balancing their home life with their personal ambitions and self-limiting beliefs and work together to build their confidence. I never expected to be using the same techniques, one Sunday evening, to console my first-born, hysterical with SATs stress.
Like many parents and teachers across the country, we are fighting hard against what is an unnecessary blip in the final year of Primary, which should be all about getting our children ready for the transition into Secondary School.
With SATs week starting imminently, I wanted to share with you, my top ways of helping your child through SATs if they are starting to feel the pressure.
Ask them “What is the worst that can happen?”
As a parent, we are very keen to try and “play down” our children’s fears or assume we know what they are worried about. By asking them this question, you can uncover what they are fearful of, and then work with them to overcome that issue through planning! It will build their resilience and your understanding of what they are anxious about
Put them in different shoes
I was surprised to hear when I asked my 11-year old the above question that her greatest fear was letting her friends and teachers down if she, in her words “failed the SATS.” I asked her how she would feel if her friend did; the end result was an understanding of how she needed to be more “friendly” to herself. Ask your child what they would say to their best friend about SATs stress.
Give them headspace
Allow them to feel what they are feeling; the give them the tools to “let it go”. I find the app “HeadSpace” particularly useful to teach my daughter emotional management. Other types of Mindfulness techniques can help.
Let your child BE a child. However driven YOU may be, regardless of the weight you place on academic results, remember THESE DON’T MATTER. A change of government and, “poof”, they are no longer an issue. Celebrate your child’s effort; congratulate them for supporting their friends. But please, let them ride out this set of tests before big school starts.
What has worked for you? Join my group The Balance Collective with Clara Wilcox and share your top tips!