Good Study Habits Start Early
When we think of studying, many of us picture teenagers in front of a book, cramming for their next exam. The reality is that as assignments start coming home and exams start creeping into the school year, younger students need to develop essential study skills as well. The ability to retain information is different for each child, especially for elementary and middle school students, and there are several ways to encourage successful homework practices that will benefit the child for years to come.
The start of a successful school year begins with being organized. Clutter and chaos are only distractions and will interfere with productivity. Try to keep notes, quizzes, and papers organized by subject. In addition to keeping pens, paper, and notebooks orderly, the student’s assignments, appointments, and after-school activities should be added to a calendar so that nothing falls through the cracks.
Use your calendar to plan for upcoming projects and tests. If your child has an after-school activity that cuts into study time before an exam, find time earlier in the week to review the information. Waiting until the last minute to finish a project or assignment will only cause stress for the entire family, and most likely not result in the best work. If the project or exam requires a lengthy amount of time, break it up into smaller sessions so that the student doesn’t get too frazzled.
Talk About In-Class Behavior
Speak with your child about their actions inside the classroom. Review why it is important that they pay attention in class and not be disruptive. Listening and being present during class will naturally start the learning process, which will make studying at home faster and easier. If there are reasons why your child cannot pay attention in class, such as sitting in a disruptive area, make their teacher aware of the issue.
Communicate with Teachers
Open communication with teachers is a vital part of having a positive school year. If there is an issue with attention spans or challenges with homework, reach out and schedule a conference. If you or your child get stuck on a particular lesson, ask your teacher for help. Teachers should also discuss the curriculum for the year with parents so that it isn’t a shock as to what is expected from their child.
Get Some Sleep
Attention spans dramatically drop when there is a lack of sleep. Sleep is essential for healthy brain development and overall health, especially for growing children and adolescents. It is estimated that most students sleep around seven hours a night, when they actually should be sleeping more around nine hours. Sleep deprivation causes changes in mood and behavior, problems with memory, and poor decision making. Make sure your child is getting enough sleep every night.
Everyone is Different
What works for one student may not necessarily work for someone else. Just like every child prefers one food over another, so is the same for studying. Some may favor practice tests while others excel at substantial memorization. The trick is to find what works for your child and support it through instilling helpful habits.