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How do you get a young child in “test mode” on the day of the test?

If you are going to take your child to a testing facility or a psychologist’s office to be evaluated, here are some tips to help her do well:

  • Make sure your child is rested and feeling well on the day of the test.  Reschedule if she isn’t feeling well.
  • Don’t take your child to be tested after a long day at preschool.  Skip school on the day she’s tested.
  • Bring books along for the waiting room.  If they keep you waiting too long and your child gets hungry, tired, or cranky, reschedule.
  • Avoid using the word “test” to describe what will happen if that would make your child nervous.  Tell her she is going to meet a special teacher who wants to find out just how much 4-year-olds know.  This teacher will be very nice, just like her own teacher, Miss Mary (or whatever her name is).  Tell her she’ll be working with blocks, puzzles, and pencil and paper and that she should try as hard as she can.  Let her know that some of the activities will be fun and not to be surprised if she can’t do everything she’s asked because some of the activities are really for older children.
  • Don’t tell her she’ll be playing games because you want her to take the experience seriously.
  • Depending on what motivates your child, you can tell her that you want her to do her very best when working with the special teacher.  Say that you’ll check with the teacher and if they say she did her very best, then you can go out afterward for a small treat (whatever your child loves to do such as going to the park, getting ice cream, going to the book store, etc.).  Don’t make the treat so exciting that the child will want to rush through the test.
  • If your child would be motivated by this, here’s something other parents have used that helped their kids.  A boy who wanted nothing more than to grow up and become a scientist was told that he would be taking the “Future Scientists of America” test.  He was thrilled to go and do his best.  Another child who wanted to be a princess was told she would be taking the “Future Princess” test.  This motivated her to do her very best.  You know your child.  Stick with what helps your child do their best.
  • The person from whom she most easily separates should take her to be tested.
  • You might drive by the testing site a day or two before and mention that you’ll be going there to meet the special teacher soon.  That way, this won’t come as a big surprise for your child.

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