How Do I Motivate My Child to Develop Effective Study Skills?

By 1seo on 28 April 22 Blog
child writing while laying on wooden floor next to open books

Success in school sets your child up for long-term success in the real world, in everything from college preparedness to career readiness. However, it can be difficult to develop good study habits, even if you encourage your child to work on improving their study skills. Are you noticing difficulty focusing, trouble completing tasks, or procrastinating assignments, whether or not your child gets good grades? Your child may need assistance developing effective study skills. Read on for some tips from the pros to make study sessions more successful!

Practice Positive Parenting

The most important thing to remember when helping your child develop study skills is that they will observe and learn from your attitude. If you have an outwardly negative attitude towards a subject, your child learns from you that the subject will be difficult or unpleasant to learn about. Practice positive parenting by following these guidelines:

  • Keep an optimistic attitude during study sessions. Say things like, “You can do it!” “You’ve got this!” and “I believe in you.” Avoid negativity and do not make statements demeaning your child or questioning their intelligence or work ethic.
  • Be patient. Some lessons may take longer than others to master. If you feel frustrated, take a break to express your frustration elsewhere and not in front of your child. They will begin to dread study sessions if they can tell you will get irritated with them.
  • If an argument breaks out, take a deep breath and encourage your child to take a 5-10 minute break while you or they leave the room — this break not only delays the conflict but gives you time to collect yourself as well. When the timer runs out, go back to studying — not arguing. 
  • Remember that your child’s brain is still developing. What may seem like an easy concept for you is not necessarily easy for them. In addition, they may have trouble with subjects that were easy for you when you were in school. This doesn’t mean they’re a failure or unintelligent. It just means they aren’t understanding a concept yet and need to keep working at it.
  • Practice tag-team study help with your spouse, partner, or a family member if you can. This way, both of you will be involved in your child’s learning process, and you’ll get a break from always being the one helping with homework.

Create a Study Space

Create a distraction-free area where your child can work. This can be any well-lit quiet area of the house with plenty of space for papers and books to be spread out. Provide a comfortable chair to sit in and stock the study space with supplies. Depending on their age and needs, provide writing utensils, scrap paper, note cards, rulers, highlighters, and more. Let your child decorate their study space however they would like, and encourage them to take pride in keeping it neat and clean. If you associate the space with positive learning, you will be helping your child learn to develop good study habits without them even knowing it.

Determine — and Disable — Distractions

Kids of all ages love video games, YouTube, and other digital distractions that, while entertaining, can make studying much more difficult. Designate a location away from the study area for your child to put their phone, tablet, video game controllers, or anything else distracting. In order to ensure your child isn’t playing online games instead of studying for that math test, limit the use of computers if they aren’t necessary for an assignment.

If a computer is needed, be sure to keep an eye on what your student is up to by ensuring the computer screen is facing the door when you walk by. If you find your student is distracted, gently redirect them by reminding them they will have time to play that game or chat with their friends online after they get their work done. If you continue to notice your student having difficulty with staying on-task online, consider installing a browser extension such as StayFocusd or Block Site to block distracting websites.

Promote Planning

Using a homework planner is required by some teachers because it’s a great way for your student to understand time management and weekly task planning, as well as when assignments are due. However, you don’t need a planner to be required to encourage your child to use one. Rather than deciding what they’ll be working with yourself, take your child shopping, and have them pick out one that they like and see themselves being able to use.

For students who have trouble with procrastination, place a large dry-erase or paper calendar in their study space. This is a simple and effective way to show your child the week or month ahead. Have them write down any project due dates, test dates, and more on the calendar, so you both know what’s coming up in the classroom.

Break Down Big Tasks

Breaking work into manageable chunks is an important study skill for your child to learn. If they have a large project to work on, help them work out when and how they’ll accomplish the project by breaking it down into small goals.

Find the Fun

Study time shouldn’t be miserable or boring. You can make almost any activity fun with help from videos, tutorials, and games. You can also reward your student for learning milestones such as a successful flashcard session or a certain number of correct math problems in a row. Use a sticker chart or similar reward tracking method and come up with a reward system that your child can reasonably achieve yet will still need to work to accomplish.

Take Study Breaks

Study breaks are integral to helping your child develop good study habits. Every half hour or 45 minutes, a 5-10 minute break to stretch, have a snack, walk around the house, or just chat about something else can make a huge difference for your child. While it’s important to not get too involved in another task during study breaks, these short breaks will help your student avoid getting too fidgety and bored.

Pursue Professional Help

If you’re using all these tips and tricks and are still having trouble making sure your child completes homework every night or studies for tests effectively, there’s no shame in getting professional help. You’re busy with your life and work yourself, and you may not have time to personally tutor every subject your young student(s) are learning. Especially with math classes in high school, sometimes it’s best to rely on an after-school or summer enrichment program to ensure your child gets the academic help they need. 

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