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Assessment Test Stressing Texas Students - 'It's Okay For Your Child To Be Anxious'

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) -- Some students in North Texas are getting ready for the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test and experts say that can be stressful.

Nine year old Ronin Valdez said he is having trouble trouble sleeping. "I feel like a lot of pressure is put on me," he said.

Valdez is in third grade and preparing to take his first STAAR test and he's feeling anxious. "Stressed, worried, kind of sad," he explained.

His mother Aubrey Atkins says he's plagued with doubt.

"Saying that he thought he was dumb… It's silly to have to tell your kid who makes straight A's that you're a smart kid," she said.

A pediatric psychologist for Children's Health and UT Southwestern, Dr. Nicholas Westers says it's important for kids to know anxiety is normal and even healthy.

"It's okay for your child to be anxious. Let them be anxious and help coach them through it," he said. "The goal isn't necessarily to take away that anxiety from children – whether because of testing or something else – the goal is to help manage that stress. Manage anxiety."

Dr. Westers suggests using guided imagery to prepare for stressful events.

"Sit down with them, take deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth…Helping them just relax and imagine themselves performing well," he said.

Too much anxiety, though, can cause problems.

"When you're getting nauseous, throwing up, complaining of headaches or sickness or refusing to go to school, that's a whole different level of a problem," he said, advising consultation with a mental health professional.

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