Bringing Brekkie Back! Tackle Those Tests family breakfast from McDonald’s
Can you feel it, TulsaParents? Oklahoma springtime is in the air – fluffy, white dogwood and Bradford pear on the breeze, allergies in our heads, and plains winds that make hair brushes moot. And as every parent with a school-age kid knows, it wouldn’t be springtime without state testing looming on the horizon.
It’s easy to underestimate the importance of test week, but you shouldn’t. State testing is important for kids’ success both on a macro and micro scale. For better or worse, overall test scores are tied to the funding our kids’ schools get. But it also tells teachers and parents where our kids are individually at – like the fact that Roe-Owens are better at words than numbers (Numbers are bad, mmmkay?).
As a mom who has now experienced parenting across every age group from preschool through teen and worked in education at every level from pre-K through high school, I’ve seen every side of the D20 when it comes to the challenges of state testing. It’s tough on kids, tough on parents, and tough on educators and admins. Fortunately, we’ve all been doing this long enough that there are a few things parents can do to turn testing week into an experience that kids enjoy, and like most awesome things in life from vacations to the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt The World Has Ever Seen, it starts with a healthy, yummers breakfast! That’s why I was super psyched to learn that those magical Golden Arches are bringing back their Tackle Those Tests test day family breakfast.
Test Day Brekkie For the Win
Any teacher will tell you that a good breakfast is an essential for kids every day. We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But it’s not just a cliche. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, the data supporting the payout on a healthy breakfast is extensive and well-documented:
- Taking the time out to eat a healthy breakfast supports concentration, problem-solving abilities, alertness, memory, mood, and yes, even better test scores.
- Kids who eat a healthy breakfast have better metabolism and get more healthy vitamins and minerals in their diets.
- Kids who eat a good breakfast are less likely to be fatigued and run out of steam early in the day.
And there’s an added benefit to having breakfast together as a family, since family time boosts kids’ confidence, self-esteem, and academic performance, according to Dr. Todd Thatcher of Highland Springs Specialty Clinic.
But if you’re like us, things can get pretty crazy during the school week sometimes, especially when you’ve got the multiplier effect with kids across grade and secondary school. We’re certainly guilty of running out the door after a hectic morning, shoving a couple of granola bars in the kids’ hands while doing a drive-by hairbrushing.
The great thing about McDonald’s Tackle Those Tests breakfast is that it gives families a chance to plan ahead and make kids feel hype about test week while making sure they’re getting that all-important brain fuel. It’s also a good way to give the kids some fun family time to look forward to rather than stress about.
To help families, kids, and educators get ready for state testing, McDonald’s is offering one free breakfast to each student between 3rd and 8th grade on April 20th from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. The goal is to give families a little time to hang and bond ahead of test week so kids get some much-needed healthy test fuel while enjoying some special time with their parents or guardians.
I talked to McDonald’s owner/operator Bob Wagner about Tackle Those Tests, and he was super excited to be sharing this event with the community once more. “We’re all parents, too,” he told me. “We have all been through the same thing the last couple of years, and it’s nice to have some type of normalcy. The fact that we’re taking the tests period is a good thing, and to give kids breakfast and give them a good start in the morning on the first day of tests is important and something we take pride in.”
Since it’s all about spending time together ahead of game day, it’s a dine-in breakfast, so be sure to plan ahead and make sure you’ve got plenty of time to nosh while regaling your younglings with dad jokes.
As Bob put it, “It encourages parents to spend time with their child before test day, make sure they’re nice and calm, and have a chance to interact together, which doesn’t happen all the time in busy morning households.”
Here’s what’s included:
- 1 Egg McMuffin® or Fruit & Maple Oatmeal
- 1 Low-Fat Milk, Honest Kids® Appley Ever After® Apple Juice Drink, or small Minute Maid® Orange Juice
- Apple Slices
Teachers need love, too, so McDonald’s is also providing breakfast to school district employees with a valid ID. In fact, there’s a good chance kids will get a few minutes to hang with some of their favorite classmates and teachers. “I would plan on giving yourself an extra 15 or 20 minutes,” Bob emphasized. “If it’s busy or you meet friends there, you’re going to want to interact.”
Making a Game Day Plan
Making a great plan for test week is the best way you can make sure your kids are less stressed and may even look forward to test week. Here are a few things you can do to give your kiddos a game day boost:
Check your kids’ test day accommodations.
If your student is on an IEP, make sure he or she is getting the accommodations they need on test day. Depending on your students’ needs, they may be able to get extra test time, a different testing format, or any number of special accommodations outlined by their IEP.
Dress for success.
One thing I’ve learned from having a neurologically diverse teen is the essential role of sensory input in academic success. But it’s not just important for ND kids – it’s just as essential for neurotypical folks, too! If your student or students wear uniforms, ask them which items are their favorite, most comfortable pieces down to the socks, and make sure to wash them and have them ready. If your kids don’t wear uniforms, make sure they’ve got something comfy that makes them feel confident and happy (Lucy wears a power headband). And don’t forget to layer, layer, layer! A light jacket can be a lifesaver if it’s chilly in the testing room.
Plan your schedule ahead.
Give your team plenty of time to get ready for the big play. Tackle Those Tests Breakfast at McDonald’s runs from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., so decide ahead of time how much time you’ll need to stop by, order, and dine in, then let everyone know so they can be ready. If you’re like us, you might consider working in some extra time for that kid who perpetually loses her shoes.
Get the blood flowing.
Getting a little cardio in on test day gets kids’ energy levels up and even helps to improve cognitive function. You don’t have to run a marathon or anything! Just park a little further away from the school and walk your kids the rest of the way in, or take five minutes to get down to your favorite Jon Batiste jam.
Send a water bottle.
Hydration helps kids to focus better and stay energized and healthy during the school day. Fill up a water bottle and stick it in your kid’s backpack ahead of the big test so she has access to fresh drinking water all day long.
Celebrate end of testing.
Once test week is over, plan a little fun family get-together to unwind and decompress. Check out a movie at the drive-in, have a zoo adventure, or get down with some Dungeons and Dragons!
Remind your kiddos that these tests are just to see where they are in their learning. They want to do their best, but their test score is not going to affect their grade in school. Let them know you believe in them, and you’re excited to spend time with them at the end of the day after they’re finished with school.
What are you doing to get ready for test day? Hit me up in the comments, and have a McAwesome day in your little nebula.