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Next week is going to be a busy week for baseball fans as it marks another exciting season of Texas Rangers baseball. However, elementary, middle, and high school students are ready to hit a different kind of home run!

The second season of STAAR (State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness) is just around the corner. Before your kids step up to the plate, parents may want to help their stars prepare in order to reduce the chance of test anxiety.

Here's a few suggestions to make sure your child is prepared and ready to go:

  • If you’ve been talking too much about testing, stop the conversation. If you haven’t been talking about the STAAR test, start the conversation. Talking too much about testing could be putting too much pressure on your child. On the other hand, you may be able to reduce anxiety by briefly talking to him/her about the test and their feelings about it.  
  • The best way to help children prepare is to help them develop good study habits throughout the year starting at a very young age. Collaborate with your child’s teacher and build a strong support system. This will allow their habits and skills to grow.
  • Help them arrive to school on time.
  • Remind your child to use test-taking strategies taught in the classroom.
  • Remind them of the four hour time limit and the need to pace themselves.
  • Make sure they get a good night’s sleep.
  • Encourage them to eat a healthy breakfast.
  • Some schools provide snacks and water. If it is not provided, be sure to include an extra snack and water.
  • Avoid planning any appointments that would cause them to miss school.
  • When using a scantron, tell them to be sure to darken in the circles completely with a #2 pencil.
  • Find out what the policy is on going to your child’s school on STAAR assessment days.
  • Inquire about the policy on bringing cell phones, tablets and other tech gadgets to school.
  • Know which test your child is being administered and on what dates.
  • By now, you should have contacted your child’s teacher or counselor if your child has special needs.
  • Although it doesn’t occur often, if your child happens to have an injury that gets in the way of her being able to write or complete a scantron, contact your child’s teacher or counselor before the day of the assessment or before testing begins, if necessary.
  • If your child experiences excessive anxiety of any kind, you may want to consider talking to your family doctor.
  • Visit your school or district’s website for additional assessment information specific to your child’s school.

Sharon Kind is a licensed school counselor and freelance writer. A product of a military family, she is a mom of one daughter and resides in McKinney, Texas. Sharon Kind can be reached at