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NAPLAN: Tips for Parents to Support Children

It’s that time of the year when school is back for Term 1, and primary school-aged children in Year 3 and 5 (and Year 7 and 9 in high school) across the country are getting ready to sit the annual NAPLAN. It’s a “testing” time for some but it’s the parents that need to do the heavy lifting, so they provide their children with support and encouragement to approach the tests in a positive way. That’s why NAPLAN preparation is always important.

What is NAPLAN?

The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy, is a series of tests focused on basic skills that are administered to Australian school students. This year, it will be held during Term 1 from Wednesday 15 March to Monday 27 March.


NAPLAN helps governments, education authorities and schools to get an overview of whether young Australians are reaching important literacy and numeracy goals. The NAPLAN test also provides information about how education programs are working, areas for improvement, and which schools need support in the teaching and learning of literacy and numeracy.

It also allows parents to see how their child is progressing against national standards over time. It provides a way to see how well they are learning the essential skills of reading, writing and mathematics, which are basic skillsets that will set them up for the path to success as adults.

The NAPLAN nerves

For many children, the thought of taking a test can be confusing and a little scary. For Year 3 students sitting the NAPLAN test for the first time, they may find it overwhelming and, in some cases, may not be fazed by it at all because they don’t know what to expect (or what is expected of them).

If your child is feeling nervous about the upcoming NAPLAN tests, there are ways you can help as a parent to get them ready and hopefully ease their worries with the right NAPLAN preparation.

Dr Helen Schiele, Principal Consultant and Early Years Specialist at Independent Schools Victoria, has stressed how the language parents use with their children makes all the difference.

“It’s important your child knows that you will remain incredibly proud of them no matter the test results, as long as they tried their best, and they were able to draw upon a series of strategies to help them manage the testing space. For a test should be seen as a celebration of what your child knows, understands and how they can demonstrate their thinking.”

Top tips for parents

If your child is feeling worried or anxious, here are some tips to help them beat the NAPLAN jitters.

  1. Have a positive and encouraging conversation about it. Ask your child what they are worried about and why. This will help you understand their concerns better and give you an opportunity to provide support with positive guidance ahead of the NAPLAN tests.
  2. Eat well and rest well. Getting plenty of sleep and keeping to a healthy diet can have an impact on both physical and mental wellbeing. It’s important that your child is feeling calm and confident leading up to the NAPLAN tests, so they feel their best on the day, inside and out.
  3. Be active and limit screen time. Too much screen time can increase stress levels and make it harder for children to focus or get back to studying. A great way to keep stress levels down is to let your child do the things they enjoy each day, especially being outdoors and engaging in meaningful play. See our blog on How to Manage Screen Time for more information.
  4. Avoid last-minute cramming. Whatever you are preparing for, rushing into it is never the answer. Trying to cram everything in the last couple of days will only increase stress and anxiety, causing your child to feel overwhelmed on test day. Ideally, it would be best to set aside some time each day to prepare for the NAPLAN tests in advance, even if it’s just learning one new thing a day.
  5. Celebrate the effort, not the outcome. The most important thing is that they ‘gave it a go’ and did their best with what they knew on the day. It’s about praising their efforts rather than focusing on the results. Parents need to assure their child that the test is only about their abilities on one day, and not who they are as a person.


Read more about encouraging positive thinking in kids, and inspiring motivation when children are faced with challenges and how you can support them.

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