Tips on Working with Your Child

  • Give your child days off.
  • Be patient with your child while you practice.
  • Maintain a positive atmosphere that is conducive to learning.
  • Be persistent and consistent in your preparation routine.
  • Be a good listener to your child while working together – if your child expresses that she’s tired or doesn’t want to do any more games, then stop.
  • Start as early as possible to give your child plenty of time to prepare and build his skills.
  • Basic concepts need to be approached from different angles. For example, when working on shapes and counting, we counted how many diamond shaped street signs we saw on the way to school.
  • Don’t put pressure on your child; don’t force them if they aren’t in the mood to study – be creative in keeping it fun for them.
  • Don’t overdo it. If your child is very good at a particular task, you don’t have to keep practicing.
  • Don’t push your child if he isn’t having fun.
  • Balance education/teaching the child with doing practice questions.
  • I work with my child as we go through each question so I can explain concepts he needs help with. I’m not concerned with how many he gets right. I want to make sure he ultimately understands how to get to the correct answer.
  • Be encouraging as your child works hard. We always complimented him for trying so hard and doing his best.
  • When questions were hard from my daughter, I talked through the logic of problems with her and showed her how I did problem solving.
  • Even if you do just a little bit every day, it makes a big difference.
  • Start with questions that are too easy for your child. This will give him confidence that he can do this!
  • We didn’t always present the questions as practice questions. Instead, we found ways to incorporate the information/learning into our day-to-day activities.
  • We’d present practice questions as part of our daily conversation. “What do you think would happen if…”
  • Change the setting sometimes. Set up alone 1-on-1-time with your child. Once a week, we would go together to a coffee shop and work together on the material apart from sitting at home every day.
  • Whatever routine you set up, follow it everyday so your child gets used to it. We would work together at the same time and do the same number of questions with each session.
  • Don’t pull your child away from something they love doing to work on practice questions.
  • I put a notebook together with all the questions we were practicing and my daughter’s name on the front of the notebook. Every evening, after work, we’d get all cozy in my bed and I’d open the book and we’d have our special time together to work on questions. She loved it.
  • When you work together, make sure your child is energized and not tired.
  • We worked at my daughter’s pace. We did as much or as little as she wanted at each “sitting.”
  • We always encouraged my daughter, whether she was doing well or having trouble. We tried to explain (in 8-year-old terms) the importance of a test.
  • Take your time going through all the practice questions. Don’t do them all in one day.
  • We constantly mixed it up and kept the preparation different. We never let our son know he was “preparing” for anything.
  • We kept it to a maximum of 30-minutes at a time unless she wanted to continue. This way, she never felt overwhelmed.
  • We were preparing for Kindergarten, so we rarely printed out any of the questions – we let my son point to the answers called it “on-line games.” With younger kids, I don’t think you need to print out the questions.
  • Sometimes, I’d let her test me and catch my (intentional) errors (this was equally useful to help me understand what she knew)
  • Bribes and enticements didn’t work for our son. We had to find ways to make the questions themselves intrinsically interesting for him.
  • We used the notes section of the site to record what my daughter did well and what she struggled with. This allowed us to go back and really work on the materials that were hard for her. She definitely got better with practice. We often reviewed questions she had done before. She would still have to think through how to solve them, but she got better with practice.
  • The child needs to be relaxed and confident. Start with easier practice questions than your child can do. That will make him feel good about how much he knows. Don’t push him to do questions that are too difficult for him and above his grade level.
  • Prepare well ahead of time. Do not wait until the last month. Go over the prep material multiple times. The more familiar the child is with the material, the more successful they will be. Carve out some time everyday to work on the material instead of 1-2 times a week. During the last 1-2 weeks before the test, spend less time on the material but more time talking to your child about how much you believe in them and appreciate the work they have put in towards the test. At this time, you want to boost their confidence in themselves and let them know that they can achieve anything they want to if they set their mind on it.
  • Start early and build learning into everyday life. Even if you are putting a magnet on the fridge, show your child how it sticks to some things, but not everything. Talk to your child as much as possible about all kinds of topics.
  • I recommend using the TestingMom materials. The exposure to different kinds of testing materials will help your child in ways you cannot quantify.
  • On the day of the test, we incorporated some “brain gym” strategies into our routine. We drank plenty of water and did some resistance/heavy work activities to increase focus…literally in the cafeteria of the school prior to being tested. I wanted him to be as calm and focused as possible.
  • I recommend using games, puzzles, blocks and other materials to reinforce what you’re teaching. Your Testing For Kindergarten book has some wonderful ideas on how to do this.
  • Teach your child a few simple relaxation techniques before the test. Something as simple as taking 3 deep breaths before you begin can make a huge difference. Especially when dealing with an older child…use positive phrases about taking the test. “This test will help us determine how you learn,” or “this test will help your teachers know how to teach you successfully.” Don’t focus on “this test will determine whether or not you get into a gifted program.”
  • Practice! The more your child does this, the more she will feel calm and prepared.
  • Start early and work consistently – even if it feels like you aren’t getting anywhere. You are!
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