How do I teach my child good study skills and habits?
Real Mom Problem
“I really don't know how to instill better study habits in my daughter now, so we don't have challenges when she's older. Any suggestions?”
- 1. Set up a "study spot" or "office" in your house that's well lit, quiet, and stocked with school and study supplies (i.e. pencils, highlighters, etc.)
- 2. Help your child get, and stay, organized
- 3. Create non-traditional learning experiences outside of school and studying (e.g. visiting science museums, observing nature, etc.)
- 4. Try to engage your child in conversation about what they're learning in school
- 5. Motivate your child to be excited to learn
Real Mom Solutions
Good study habits are invaluable to students, and instilling them in your kids while they're young will set them up for success. See what these moms suggest!
Teach Studying & Organization
You should TEACH your daughter how to study. That is a lesson that the kids don't always get in school. When she gets home from school, have her lay out exactly what she needs to do. Have her organize the order to do it in (my suggestion is the hardest or longest first). If she has a test then you need to teach her ways to study for it. Obviously having a good place to study (well lit, well supplied, quiet, etc.) is helpful.
Organization is very important in the higher elementary grades and on into high school and college. At our school every student is given a homework agenda on the first day of school. They take it with them to every class and they write down their assignments and when tests are. Then they know what needs to come home and when they need to study for tests.
I'm a college advisor and I can honestly say that MOST students coming into college were never taught how to take notes. A general note-taking tip to share with your daughter is, if she is taking notes from a book, change all the headings and subheadings into a question or multiple questions. Do all of that BEFORE she reads. Then while she reads, she is looking for information that answers these questions. This way she is reading with interest and thinking critically.
As for the teacher's "lectures" in class, at the elementary level it's not too necessary, but depending on your child's age and needs, he or she may want to write down words or phrases that she doesn't understand, 1-2 important things that were said, etc. Anything that will help explain the work she is doing or needs to remember will help.
Set up a Study Spot & Schedule
Have a spot set up for your daughter to study with any supplies she will need. Have a rule of no TV, games, or anything until the studying is done.
Consistency, structure, etc. will help with building good study habits. Does she have a desk in her room that is set up for her to work at? Make a schedule for her after-school time. For instance 1) get a snack 2) take out backpack 3) look at agenda 4) do homework 5) math sheet 6) read etc. Have her check things off as she completes them.
If you don't have one, establish a homework routine that you strictly follow daily. This will help your child get into homework and study mode and stay there until it is done.
We have a little work station set up in the dining room for our kids to use for homework and studying. They know that when they get home from school, they have a snack and then do their homework right away. Then they can go outside or play or whatever. The routine has helped a lot. Also, when they don't bring homework home, they still have the routine and either study spelling words, write sentences or definitions, or study math facts, or do workbook pages from workbooks we bought them, just to keep the same routine every day.
I am in the process of making each one of my boys a homework station. This includes a desk and everything that they could possibly need (pencils, pens, tape, crayons, paper, etc). I am also going to put up a times table and division table for each as a reference. They will each have their own little "office" to do their work and studying in. They both seem very excited about it.
Besides a routine, I would also suggest setting a time period for breaks. Work for 10 minutes, get up, get a drink of water, do jumping jacks (exercise gets the blood flowing), then return for another 10 minutes or so of studying.
A great way to "study" would be to find different things to study, especially science or history, and have hands-on lessons that you can do together. Also, reading nonfiction is a good way to boost both reading skills and knowledge base. If your daughter needs to get ahead in math, then finding a way to make things in to a problem solving game or a real situation is best. You can find ideas online. Also, you can have your daughter create PowerPoint presentations about things she's learned and make her teach YOU. It's good for her as it makes her reorganize her thoughts, and enlightening for you, because you find out exactly what she's thinking and learning.
Try to find some math or learning games for you and her to play over the summer, and maybe that will take some of the frustration away if she has some positive experience with it. There are all kinds of education computer games online or you can find card or board games. Have her add the dice together out loud to practice math facts without knowing it!