Should children study in the same quiet place every day, or is variety more conducive to retaining information? With a new school year underway, moms are eager to teach their kids good homework habits and study skills. Here we've rounded up five key tips for helping your child to study effectively, all recommended by Circle of Moms members who've been through the struggles of homework time before.
Creating a consistent homework routine is an important part of teaching children good study habits. As mom of two Katie H. suggests, “Set a time and a place for them to study. Do they come home and study right away, or get a snack then study? Either way, have it be routine.” (Related: The Best Time to Do Homework.)
2. Study Environment
A child’s study environment is another key to successful studying. Many moms recommend that a private, quiet space with good lighting and no distractions (turn off the TV during homework time!) is the best study environment for children. As Tanya B. shares: “Make sure he has a quiet area for him to do homework with good light.” Other moms, including Betty D., contend that switching up locations helps children study better: “Instead of sticking to one study location, simply alternating the room where a person studies improves retention.” Try both with your child to see what works best.
Just as adults are advised to take breaks during a work day to improve focus and concentration, children should also take study breaks from their homework to prevent brain fatigue, not to mention physical discomforts like eye strain. As Nancy explains of her son’s study habits: “If I see he is becoming overwhelmed, we take a break. Sometimes we may take 2-3 breaks for homework sessions. It gives him time to regroup and then he is able to concentrate when he comes back to the table.”
4. Time Management
Another key study skill to teach at a young age is the importance of time management and procrastination. Set aside plenty of time for homework, and help your child create a schedule for long term projects. Diedre P., a third grade teacher, also suggests using timers during homework sessions to keep kids from procrastinating on even short assignments: “We use timers all the time when kids are working, and maybe it would carry through at home. You could try setting 15 minutes for each task, so your child knows that stalling or getting distracted isn't an option.”
5. Asking for Help
Struggling to understand new concepts is a natural part of the learning and studying process. If your child is struggling with a question or subject, encourage them to ask you questions. And if your child doesn't respond well to you explaining concepts, consider a tutor if feasible. As Susie B. advises: “If you can afford it, it may benefit you to hire a tutor briefly. I hired someone to help my 10-year-old….He responds to the tutor in a different way and is doing much better in all subjects.”