Helping kids cope with AIMS anxiety

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by Kaley O'Kelley

Bio | Email | Follow: @KaleyOKelley

azfamily.com

Posted on April 4, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Updated Friday, Apr 5 at 1:23 PM

PHOENIX -- AIMS testing is coming up this month for students across Arizona, and many  kids and parents are starting to feel the pressure.

On Thursday's Good Morning Arizona, Kaley O'Kelley talked to a child psychologist about the warning signs of anxiety, and different ways to help students deal with the stress.

Dr. Dina Reimer listed some warning signs parents should notice. "Anything out of character for your child, behaviorally, excessive tantrums, meltdowns, crying, irritability, that psychosomatic stuff," she says. "Kids who aren't processing through or just have too much stress; you'll see it in their bodies."

Dr. Reimer says parents should help their kids be prepared by being organized. "Help them organize their backpacks. Tell them to organize their desks," she says. "When we're organized, it helps us feel prepared. It helps us feel calmer. It helps us feel less stressed."

Parents can also help put AIMS in perspective, by staying mellow and matter of fact.  Tell kids to keep in mind that it's only a test, that they've been preparing all year, and that they're not expected to know everything. "You've already learned it, you're prepared, just have fun with going in and showing what you know." 

She also offered some tips for test-taking, along with being organized. "Get good sleep, eat a healthy breakfast," she says. "And particularly on test day, have an un-rushed morning routine. You don't want to go in there in rushed mode."

Dr. Reimer also reminds moms and dads that even though they should not underestimate the importance of the test, they should still try to calm kids' anxiety, and let them know that you're proud of them, no matter what.

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