The crayons, backpacks and lunchboxes are starting to show up in stores. This can only mean one thing — back-to-school time is upon us. Soon, our kids will be trading in their lazy days of summer for homework and exams. To start the school year off right, it’s important to instill good study habits in our kids. Here’s how:
Designate a Specific Study Area
While your son might insist that he can do his math homework in the family room with the TV blaring, Sylvan Learning notes that this is not the ideal place to learn. Help your child by providing a quiet, low-traffic area of the home that has good lighting. Set up a work station in the space and include plenty of supplies like sharpened pencils, paper, a calculator and ruler. Make sure the desk is large enough to hold your child’s books and consider adding a corkboard on the wall for a calendar and important papers.
Restrict, but Don’t Eliminate, the Computer
When helping your child develop strong study habits, you might feel compelled to ban anything that plugs in. But while you can definitely forbid texting, television and loud tunes from homework time, you shouldn’t take away your child’s laptop or tablet. Just like you used to look up information in your family’s dusty set of encyclopedias, your child uses the computer to research topics for school papers. Online study tools are also becoming more prevalent than ever. For example, if your teenager is studying for his or her driver’s licence, websites like TopTests.co.uk are an invaluable tool; he or she can use the site to study the road rules and take mock theory tests from home. Allow your children to have their computers with them during homework time, but check in from time to time to make sure they are using them appropriately.
Teach Your Child Organisational Skills
Buy your kids school planners and ask them to write down all of their homework assignments, tests and extracurricular activities — this way, nothing will fall through the cracks. For kids who are especially organisationally challenged, sit down with them and go through their folders looking for worksheets and study guides. If your kids’ teachers list upcoming assignments on a website, visit it with your children to be sure you haven’t missed anything. To help them stay on track, ask your kids to review their planners both at the beginning and end of the day.
Establish a Homework Schedule
To help your kids develop great study habits, set up a schedule for homework and studying. As Child Development Info notes, consider your child’s age when determining the amount of time for schoolwork; first-graders can usually handle about 15 minutes at a time while your high schooler can hit the books for an hour. Your kids should also have some downtime after school before doing their homework; allow them to decompress and have a snack before starting. You know your kids best, so if they insist on doing their work after dinner, and you see that they can get it all done in a reasonable amount of time before bedtime, that’s fine. But if your teens dilly dally around and take two hours in the evening to complete a 15-minute worksheet, then you can insist that they start in the late afternoon.