Helping Children develop Study Skills
Children are not born with effective study skills, and those skills often are not taught in school. Parents can help ensure their child’s educational success by making sure they develop effective study skills. Unfortunately, many parents are not sure where to start. Two of the most important areas on which parents can place emphasis are setting priorities and organization.
If you want your child to treat homework and studying as a priority, then you have to teach them to set that priority. There are several methods that will help you establish homework as important without the frustration of arguments and hurt feelings.
- Be clear about your expectations. Let your child know that you expect homework to be finished, and you expect it to be done well. In the beginning, you may need to check your child’s work to reinforce the point. In addition, make it clear that you expect homework to come first and that it needs to be a priority.
- Get into a routine. Work with your child to set up a specific time each day for your child to study. The idea is to have a specific amount of time each day, preferably at the same time, that is set aside for studying. Keep in mind your child’s age and natural schedule. For example, younger children often get tired soon after dinner, so study time should be earlier for that age group. See our Post on Making Time in your schedule.
- Pay attention to activities.If your child’s, or your family’s, activities prevent having enough time for homework and studying, cut back on the other activities.This emphasizes the importance of making homework a priority.
- Homework comes first. Do not allow your child to watch television, play computer or video games, or have phone calls or visits with friends during study time.
- Keep necessary supplies on hand. Supplies like pens, pencils, paper, calculators, and dictionaries are necessary for studying and homework. If your child is using the computer to create projects or reports, make sure you have plenty of printer ink and paper. Each item that you have available takes away another excuse for why your child cannot do homework now.
Organizational skills are necessary in every area of life, not just homework and studying. You can help your child with study skills, though, by helping them get organized. More on Getting Organized
- Give your child an assignment book. With an assignment book, your child can write down their daily assignments and check them off as they finish. They can also note due dates for long-term assignments and projects, as well as exam dates. An assignment book is also a good place to set out goals and blocks of time for working on long-term assignments.
- Prompt a daily review. Encourage your child to review their class notes each day. They will not only get a better grasp on the material, but also they will not need to cram before exams. Daily reviews also help to ease the stress of exams.
- Note-taking skills. Teach your child to take effective notes. If you are not sure how, there are many available resources that will let you learn together. Encourage your child to use the note-taking style that is easiest for them. Organized notes are easier to study, and they are easier to use in daily reviews. Cornell, Outline, Split Page, and Mind Map methods.
- Teach your child to plan ahead. Planning ahead is necessary when studying for exams, working on long-term assignments and projects, and scheduling classes in high school and college. The child that can plan ahead will be better able to break projects into small, manageable chunks. It also helps will working toward short- and long-term goals.
Parents are the first resource for children learning how to study. Setting priorities and organizational skills are easy for you to teach your child, and they will help your child succeed in more than just their studies.
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