Counsellor's Corner: Tips to Help Your Child Through NAPLAN

I get nervous whenever a storm rolls in. It sets my mind racing, and I can't stop thinking about the lightning just around the corner. Over time, I've learned to confront my anxious feelings by seeking out facts and asking myself questions. I remind myself that behind all the noise and spectacle, a storm replenishes our water supplies and cleanses the air.

This week marks the start of NAPLAN testing for students in Years 3, 5, 7, and 9—a time that inevitably stirs up higher levels of anxiety among our children. But much like a thunderstorm, NAPLAN carries some silver linings. Let's explore how we can guide our children and help them harness their natural resilience during this testing period. Try these things:

Explain NAPLAN

NAPLAN isn't merely about tallying scores and it's not about pigeonholing students as math wizards or reading champions. It serves as a guide for educators, pinpointing areas where extra attention is needed so they can tailor teaching methods to suit each student's unique needs. Moreover, it aids policymakers in channelling resources towards enhancing education nationwide.

See NAPLAN as a journey, not the destination

Like a thunderstorm is a natural part of the weather cycle, NAPLAN is a practice run for life's tests, including standardised testing. Emphasise that it's all part of learning and another way to equip them with the skills for future challenges.

Recognise anxious feelings

Anxiety manifests as a racing heart, "butterflies", or a sick feeling in the stomach. By tuning into physical cues, children better recognise and manage their emotions. However, if anxiety overwhelms them, there may be deeper issues at play. Reach out for support from your child's teacher and medical health professionals, or try a platform like Headspace, which offers supportive mental health assistance.

As our children continue their NAPLAN journey, let's highlight the silver linings and equip them with the tools to weather anxious moments. By offering warmth and calm support, we ensure they emerge strong and more resilient on the other side.