SATS week is the first time children will experience exam pressure, and while you can argue about whether they should really be a 'thing' -after all, it’s a measure of the school’s ability not really the child’s, they are a 'thing' and children need support through them.
In the lead up, your Year 6 child will have been given plenty of support with getting prepared, but what about the week itself? How can you best support your child while they are in the thick of it? Here’s a few ways to help.
Talk it out
For some children, the stress levels will turn up a notch or two, so it is important to listen to their worries and chat through how their day has gone. Getting them to open up will really help with any anxiety and lessen the pressure.
Exercise is a great way to clear the mind and reduce stress and children are not immune to its benefits. Just a 20-minute walk round the block can make all the difference, and it can be a great opportunity to get your child to open up about how they are feeling.
Keep calm yourself
Modelling behaviour is an important part of parenting. Keeping your own worries and anxieties away from your child is a must. I don’t know many parents who agree with SATS but it is helpful not to talk too much about that to your child, and try to refrain from telling them that they don’t matter, as to your child they do – whether we think they do or not.
Try and keep the peace at home
Chat with siblings about trying to have some empathy this week and to try and be supportive, rather than disruptive - as hard as that may be, and remind older siblings of how they felt when they were doing their SATS, so they can appreciate what their younger brother or sister is going through.
Be on time
If there is one week in which you need to be on time for school, this is the week! Being in a rush and arriving late will only add to your child’s stress, so set the alarm a little earlier and get organised, so that your child is relaxed before getting to school. If you can, arrive a little earlier than usual to give your child time to prepare once in school and chat with their teacher if necessary.
No late nights
There is no need to make bedtime earlier than usual but be mindful that your child shouldn’t be going to bed later either. If they struggle to drift off, try some meditation after a warm bath or some quiet time reading. Avoiding screens in the hour before, will also help.
Have something planned on the weekend as a reward for getting through the week. This can help children keep focused and gives them something to look forward to. Plus, they really have earned it!
Each day, you could give a reward of a special breakfast or dinner each evening – a simple way to give them something to look forward to each day.
And remember, school are always there to chat through any concerns and to give support, so no matter how trivial your concern might seem, chat to your child's teacher.