Instill Good Study Habits for Kids at Home
From the details of historical events to basic math skills, students learn all sorts of important things during school hours. Then, they go home with homework assignments and projects that are intended to reinforce their learning and help them to master their new skills.
However, there’s one extremely valuable lesson that isn’t taught in the classroom very often—a lesson that is truly the basis of a child’s future success in school. We’re talking, of course, about learning how to study.
Children spend so much of their lives in the classroom, listening to lectures and taking tests and participating in group discussions. They are sent home with backpacks full of books to read and worksheets to complete and reports to write.
Unfortunately, most kids never really learn about good study habits. It’s little wonder, then, that so many kids find themselves distracted and unable to focus on their assignments when they get home—which makes students and parents alike dread homework time.
If you’re tired of fighting about homework and whether your kids have finished all their assigned reading, it might be time to try a new approach. Instead, try implementing these three good study habits for kids in your home and see just how productive and painless homework time can be!
Good Study Habit #1: Start with a Break
You know how when you get home from a long day at work, all you want is just a few minutes of silence or a nice cup of tea to help you decompress? Well, kids need time to switch gears too!
Parents often tell kids to get started on their homework right away when they get home, which can actually be detrimental to their productivity. Think about it: do you do your best work when you’re tired and you’ve already spent eight hours on the job?
School is effectively a full-time job for your child, and they deserve a break before tackling the next part of their day. A 30-minute relaxation period before homework time is a good study habit for kids so that they can have a snack, play a game, or run around outside for a little bit. Afterward, they’ll be rejuvenated and ready to tackle their homework with fresh eyes.
Bonus Tip: If your child has a lot of homework, be sure to allow some breaks in between assignments also! You can use the popular Pomodoro Technique (set a timer and your child gets a five-minute break after working for 25 minutes), or simply give him or her a 10 to 20 minute break in between each assignment or subject.
Good Study Habit #2: Have a Designated (and Fully Stocked!) Homework Spot
Parents like to joke about their kids who suddenly become so dehydrated (needing just one more glass of water) and so cuddly (needing just one more hug) before bedtime—and sometimes homework time can feel the same! How often have you heard “I’m cold,” “I’m hungry,” or “I need a pencil sharpener” when it’s time to open the books?
If these refrains sound common, your home needs a designated homework spot!
The key here is to create a comfortable, pleasing environment that is conducive to focus—and to make sure that everything your child may need to do their homework is already right there.
An ideal homework spot is:
- Comfortable (with a chair and/or desk that your child will use)
- Well-lit, temperate, and quiet
- Near any devices your child might need such as a computer or printer
- Stocked with supplies like pencils, pens, paper, a calculator, pencil sharpeners and erasers, highlighters and markers, rulers, a dictionary, etc.
It should also be a little fun! Though you don’t want any distractions in the homework spot, you can let your child decorate it with fun pictures, a special lamp, or a cozy blanket to make the space feel more inviting.
Over time, your child will grow to associate being in the homework spot with homework time—which will ultimately make it easier to switch gears and start focusing as soon as he or she sits down.
Good Study Habit #3: Keep Assignments Organized
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many people of all ages lack this basic skill! One of the most important good study habits for kids to learn is how to keep their assignments and task lists organized.
All too often, people rely on their memories to keep track of important to-do items—and unsurprisingly, things often fall through the cracks!
Another poor habit that many people have is writing things down—but doing so in multiple places (such as in a day planner, on their phone calendar, and on post-its), so that they never have all of their tasks listed in the same place.
Teaching your kids how to keep a detailed agenda is one of the most valuable study habits you can set them up with, as it will serve them well into their high school and college years and even throughout their adult lives.
A few key tips:
- Everything gets written down—and everything gets written down in one place.
- Include as much detail as possible: the assignment, due date, any special requirements, and other tasks associated with the assignment.
- If a to-do item requires supplemental material that won’t fit in the agenda, include a simple note alongside the item that tells you where to find the extra material you’ll need later.
- Be sure to cross off items as they are completed—and reassign anything that isn’t finished to a new day.
Ready to start instilling good study habits in your kids? Use the brand new study habit writing prompts below to help your kids figure out which tips will work most effectively for them—and to show them why it’s so important to think of study habits as a skill that can be learned and improved upon!
20 Writing Prompts to Promote Good Study Habits for Kids
- Do you find it hard to focus on studying? Why or why not?
- If you could change anything about your homework routine, what would it be?
- What is your favorite thing to do when you get a break from doing homework?
- What is your favorite type of homework? What is your least favorite? Why?
- Do you keep a planner or agenda with your assignments? Why or why not?
- What items do you need to focus on your homework? Make a list and explain how each thing helps you get your homework done.
- What are some ways you could improve your study habits?
- What is the purpose of homework? Why do teachers assign it?
- Do you prefer doing homework at a desk, on the couch, or in your room? Why?
- Is it easier for you to do homework with total silence or with some background noise (like music or nature sounds)? Why?
- Why do you think it is important for kids to learn about good study habits?
- Do you prefer to do your homework on paper or on a computer? Why?
- Would you rather spread your homework out over the week or do it all on the weekend? Why?
- What is the best way you know to study for a test? Why does it work well for you?
- Do you think homework helps you learn more? Why or why not?
- How long do you spend doing homework each night? Do you think you should spend more or less time on homework? Why or why not?
- What are some good resources you can use when you need help with your homework?
- What are some common distractions you face when studying? How could you get rid of them?
- Write about one way that you’ve improved your study habits since you were younger.
- Brainstorm some ways you could make doing homework more fun. Be creative!
Related Links & Resources
- 25 Goal Writing Prompts for Kids
- Goal Setting for Students & Visioning Tools
- Six Steps to Smarter Studying
Until next time, happy studying…
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