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How to Help Your Child be a Great Student

How to Help Your Child be a Great Student

Boy doing homework
by Heather Thomson

Studying is not something parents should expect children to know how to do themselves. Start routines and habits to help them be better students while they are young, and encourage them to keep these habits through high school, so that when they go off to college, studying and learning is second nature.

The Basics

Keep in mind that it is easier for a child to study and perform well at school when she is well fed and well-rested. Set an early bedtime if getting up early is hard for her to do each day and send her to school after having a good breakfast.

Keep Communication Open

Casually talk to your child about her day at school. Ask questions and try to stay informed about how she is doing in school. You do not have to ask specifically about each class, but let her lead the conversation and see what topics come up. Sometimes a child might not be paying attention in a class because of a social issue or anxiety about something unrelated to learning. Be aware of what she is going through with open lines of communication.

Help Them Stay Organized

Depending on your child’s age, you need to help her stay organized. Organization is an important executive function skill that can strengthen learning.  If your child is older you need to encourage organization, but let her do the work to get her papers organized themselves. You can help by providing folders, calendars and items that might make organizing more fun like stickers. Prompt children to think ahead and see what school work they can prepare for, or help them mark holidays on the calendar so that they know what is coming up in the next few weeks.

Create A Study Area

Encourage studying by designating a certain time of day that all electronics are turned off in the house, and establish quiet time for school work. Do not watch television yourself and expect children to be able to concentrate on their work. Make the entire house study-ready. Put away any distractions and consider picking up a book yourself while your child is doing her homework.

Game Time

Encourage your family to participate in non-electronic games. Think chess, checkers, puzzles, word scrabble, suduko and card games such as hearts or spades. If you have young children, try hide-and-seek or peekaboo. These games help keep your child’s brain working, but offer a break from her school work.

See Also

Offer Encouragement

Learning can be hard, so help ease that frustration. Encourage your children and let them know they might not get things right the first time. Do motivate children to try to figure it out on their own before you assist. Depending on your child’s age, you may eventually show her how the work can be done, or you can encourage her to research how the problem can be solved on her own. Sometimes it is good to suggest a break from the problem and then reapproach it at a later time.

Create Routine

Use the same schedule consistently so that your child expects study time. You might experience resistance the first few times, but eventually the process becomes easier.  A schedule will help your child establish a good routine and develop good executive function skills.  Hopefully this habit will eventually be used by your children later in life when you are not around to make them study!

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