STAAR Test. Whether you are a child or a parent across the State of Texas, hearing the words "STAAR Test" uttered is likely to strike fear, nervousness, dread and anxiety into your mind. Children are preparing for it in school, and parents are helping them prepare at home with extra homework assignments. Unfortunately, children oftentimes do not know they are stressed, leaving it up to parents to not only look for the signs but also to manage them.

Dr. Oscar Bukstein, medical director for DePelchin Children’s Center, identifies some signs a child may be stressed as well as tips to help parents manage it: 

What are some signs to look for if a child is stressed?

  • Change in child’s mood (increased crying, irritability, anger)
  • Behavioral changes (withdrawn, outbursts, tantrums, clinginess, separation anxiety)
  • Physical changes (sleep, appetite, aches and pains, change in bowel/bladder habits, perceived difficulty breathing)
  • Change in school performance (decline in grades, avoiding school)

If you should notice any signs like these, what should you as a parent do to help your child or teen?

  • Spend time as a family (family night, game night, dinner together)
  • Encourage good habits (sleeping, eating, exercising)
  • Utilize relaxation techniques (deep breaths, listening to music, talking to others)

What if there seems to be something more? Where can parents turn?

  • Trust the experts (your pediatrician, school counselor, therapist)