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Preparing for SATs week

With SATs just around the corner, it's important to be aware of potential dispalys of anxiety and stress in your children. Here are some behaviours to look out for over the next week:

Butterflies in their tummy

'Butterflies' is the nervous feeling you get in your belly when you are feeling anxious. It is a fight or flight response from your body, caused by a reduction of blood flow in the stomach.

Children often refer to this feeling as 'butterflies', without knowing that it is linked to anxiety. Teaching your children that this is a normal bodily response when you are nervous is a great way to help them identify their emotional state, helping them then practice a short breathing activity, like Belly Breathing, to help reduce this feeling.

As you likely won't be with your child in the moment they experience butterflies, practicing Belly Breathing together, and talking about the butterflies feeling, helps them to understand what it is and why it's happening, and the first step to reducing this feeling when it begins to occur.

Getting upset easily

Another clue that your child might be stressed about their SATs exams is that they are easily upset by trivial situations.

Practicing activities like Bubble Popping can help your children to understand their thoughts, feelings and emotions, so that if they get upset easily, they can identify what is causing them to feel this way, making it easier for them to open up and talk about it with you.

They’re unusually quiet

Don't pressure your child into talking about school, SATs or how they're feeling about their exams. Instead, create a comfortable atmosphere where they feel free to express themselves. While they may not want to discuss school or their SATs, engaging them in activities unrelated to their exams can help redirect their focus and provide them with a mental break - they might naturally open up by doing so.

Try something new, like a yoga activity after school to help them release energy and connect with their body.

You find them procrastinating

Whilst seeing your child volunteer to tidy their bedroom might be a once in a lifetime occurrence, they might be procrastinating from their homework or revision without realising it! Keeping an eye on them whilst they do their homework can help them stay focussed on their work.

You could also try a 5 minute mindfulness activity with your kids pre-homework, or as a half way break, to help them release energy and refocus. Alternatively, you could encourage them to stay focussed in return for a treat after dinner!

Sleeping badly

Whilst you can't monitor your children's sleep full time, you can identify whether they've had a bad sleep by paying attention to several indications; including whether they appear excessively sleepy during the day, they have increase irritability or moodiness, and their concentration levels are low. These are all signs that they aren’t sleeping well, potentially due to their exam anxiety.


Remember that these exams mean a lot to children, and they might struggle to show the stress caused by them. Try to be patient with your children and support them through the week.

If you can, try to incorporate stress reduction exercises after school or before bed, such as the Belly Breathing, Bubble Popping or yoga. Additionally, creating a safe space where they feel like they can open up and discuss how they’re feeling will make a huge difference to their stress.

Good Luck Everyone!


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