Building strong study habits early can set your child up for a lifetime of learning, but it can be difficult to know where to start. After a long day at school, it’s important to give your child time to play and unwind. It’s just as important to have a dedicated routine to reinforce the skills they’re learning in school which will teach them the discipline they’ll eventually come to rely on as they progress from K-12 and beyond! Here are a few simple ways you can set your child up for a lifetime of success.
Have a quiet, clean study space.
It’s so easy to get distracted, any background TV or sibling walking by is more than enough to derail progress, especially if your child is working on a subject they find challenging! Find somewhere quiet and out of the way for your child to do their homework or practice the skills they’re learning in school. Try to keep it organized so that they can always find their pencils, papers, or other study materials. If they prefer to have some soft music playing in the background, that’s okay as long as it’s not too loud or too distracting. You know your child better than anyone else, so you know what will work for them.
Keep track of everything with a study planner.
Schools will sometimes give students their own study planners, but it can also be exciting to go to a store and pick out something cute and fun. Encourage your child to keep track of upcoming tests, including standardized tests, major assignment due dates, and any homework assignments in the study planner, and use it to make a study plan for success!
Set aside daily study time, even if they don’t have homework!
Not every school district in Texas allows daily homework assignments for their students, but that doesn’t mean that students shouldn’t spend a little bit of time every day practicing how to learn. Whether it’s time spent reading, creative writing, or practicing math skills, knowing how to study is a skill that takes time and patience to perfect, just like throwing a baseball or landing a cartwheel. Having a dedicated time set aside every day for studying will help build the habit for years to come. Whether it’s the half hour before dinner, while their food is being cooked, or the first half hour after getting off of the school bus, turn studying into a daily routine for your child.
Never cram for a test!
If you’ve followed through with steps two and three, then this will never be a problem for your child! Cramming for a test is not as effective as studying in smaller chunks, daily, over time. The brain needs rest to store information in its long-term memory, and the amount of time that a child or teenager can hold onto strong attention is not as long as it is for adults with fully-developed brains. It can be tempting to spend the whole night before a test hitting the books, especially if that test is a STAAR or SAT exam, but your child’s brain will thank them if they’ve already done most of the studying and can spend that time resting up instead.
Teach them to ask for help when they need it.
It’s easy for your child to get frustrated or give up when studying something complicated and new, especially if they don’t understand it right away. It’s very important that your child knows that needing help is not the same as “being dumb” or “being bad at” anything. Instead of being angry with themselves, make sure that they know where to go for help. Whether they go to khanacademy.com or online tutoring, or go to their teacher’s study hours with a list of questions, knowing when to ask for help when learning something new is an important life skill that will pay off over and over again.
Following these steps will set your child up for a stellar school year! And remember, any progress is good progress when it comes to building strong study habits to last a lifetime. Be sure to tag us on Instagram or Facebook with your study success stories, and let us know if you have any study tips of your own!