28 Feb How Parents Can Encourage Strong Study Habits
Imagine you need to do research to meet an important deadline. You sit down to work on it, but the TV is on in the background, your phone is buzzing with new updates on social media, and you haven’t eaten dinner yet. It’s difficult for even the most competent adult to manage these external factors and still meet their goal.
For a kid with a developing brain, these factors can be heightened. How did you develop your study skills? You may not even be able to recall how these skills developed, but they did so in small ways over time.
Regardless of a child’s age or learning profile, parents or caregivers can encourage strong study skills at any time in your child’s development. But where do you begin?
The easiest way is to first get your child to organize his or her backpack or workspace so they are free of clutter. This way, important assignments and papers are easily accessible. Additionally, getting your child to write daily checklists will assist them in learning to prioritize and plan ahead, which are key skills in developing study habits.
Whether it’s the external factors mentioned above, or internal factors such as stress, anxiety, or learning difficulties, many students still find themselves struggling when it comes to homework.
Oftentimes, stress tends to be exacerbated by three things: procrastination, feeling overwhelmed, and difficulty retaining information. Each of these internal stressors can be managed and overcome. Below are some tips for managing each one.
Decrease Potential Distractions
Many students are bombarded with notifications from social media and texts while sitting down to do homework. Ideally, students phones should be as far away as possible during homework time. Alternatively, they can put their phone on silent and disable any texting function on their computer while trying to complete homework.
Children and adolescents thrive in the comfort and reliability of a structured homework routine. Whether this means having a snack before homework every day or completing assignments in a certain order, maintaining a routine is crucial for student success.
2. Feeling Overwhelmed
Plan Ahead of Time
Parents can model the planning process so kids learn how to schedule multiple tasks. Try and share with them how you prepare for a trip or complete a project for work. Take advantage of the weekends to plan for the upcoming week. Additionally, parents can help students break down large assignments into smaller chunks, recording on a calendar when they plan to complete each part.
Use Time Estimates
Students should get in the habit of estimating how long different homework assignments will take and base their schedules around these estimates. Remember, estimating correctly isn’t as important as the practice itself. The process alone will help students begin to assess the best way to complete assignments when juggling multiple tasks. It also functions to give students a rough estimate of when they will be finished with homework, as opposed to feeling like they will be working all night.
Begin with the Most Difficult Task
Although many students prefer to complete easier or more fun tasks first, these are easier to do later on in the evening when energy is dwindling. Students should tackle the most difficult task first while they still have energy. This way, the more challenging assignments are not being pushed later into the evening and are being completed when focus may be at a higher level.
3. Difficulty Retaining Information
Use a Cumulative Approach
Memorize information in stages that build upon one another. When students are faced with vast amounts of information, it can become overwhelming. It’s best if students can break it up into a series of parts based on the number of topics and the number of days they have to study for the test. For example, students can break up studying for a science test into three sections and review sections 1 and 2 before moving on to study section 3.
Summarize with Lists, Identify Keywords and Use Mnemonics
A large block of text on a study guide can be difficult to memorize. Students can break the text up by using bullet points and visual aids. Alternatively, they can highlight keywords and create mnemonic devices to better remember the material. When it comes to mnemonic devices, the sillier the better! We all still remember “PEMDAS” or “Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” when thinking of algebra and order of operations.
Make Study Materials
Although it may sound old fashioned, writing out information with paper and pen helps commit content to memory far better than typing it. If writing out the material is too difficult, kids should still create their own digital study guides rather than borrowing from a friend. Active studying is always better than passive studying. Students can then be quizzed on the material so they can determine the information they know and the information they still need to review.
From external to internal factors, students have many challenges when it comes to developing study skills. However, by incorporating these small suggestions and activities into your daily life, students of any age can start developing these key skills.
Authored by: Jen Jamgochian