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How to improve your study habits

Unfortunately, children are not born with the necessary learning habits to succeed in school. They have to learn.  Children often start school without the skill needed to get ahead.  Here are some tips for parents to prepare their children for school, and at the same time improve learning habits.

  • Start at an early age. Although it is not recommended to start formal education in children before they go to school, parents can set a good example for their children long before they start school.  This can be achieved by encouraging learning. Parents should try reading to their children daily. The ability to read is very important for success in school. Reading to children helps them develop a desire to read.
  • Parents should provide their children with an abundance of interesting books. Finally, parents can set a good example if they themselves read. 
  • Parents should try to encourage their children to be curious about the world around them. This can be accomplished by talking with your children, listening to them, and answering their questions. Parents should also expose them to many stimulating and interesting things.
  • Take part. Parents should take an interest in their children’s education and subscribe to the APA (parent association), or by taking part in other school activities.  If parents believe that their children’s education is important enough to take part in and pay attention to, children will also show interest.  It is a good idea for parents to know and communicate with their children’s teachers.  Parents must also offer a lot of encouragement. They should talk to their children about what they do at school. This will help reinforce what they have learned.

Once homework begins…

Once children advance to grades where exams and homework are part of the study, there are many things parents can do to encourage good study habits in their children.

  • Set a schedule. Parents should decide with their children what time they are going to do homework every day. When the children are in the first grades, an hour a day will suffice.  As tasks and responsibilities increase, more time will be needed. It is important for children to take part in these decisions.  Children should know that they are able to make decisions about their studies. Once parents and children have decided the schedule, they should stick to it.  If one day there is no homework, parents can have their children use the time to read, or for another project. It is important for children to get used to studying daily.
  • Provide an area to study. Parents should provide a quiet and comfortable area for their children to study. It is good that the study is carried out in the same place every day. Parents should make sure that their children have the utensils they need (e.g. paper, pencils, pencil sharpeners) on hand.  Sometimes the children’s bedroom is not a good place to study. There are often too many distractions.
  • Help your children to be organized. Parents should give their children a calendar so they can write down the tasks and mark them when they have completed them.  Parents can also show their children how to keep their homework and materials organized and how to prioritize their obligations.
  • Provide support. Parents should praise their children for their efforts and to complete their homework. You also have to keep in mind that homework is not fun. Don’t expect perfection.
  • Offer help. Parents should be available to answer any questions their children may have. They should try to provide information but without doing the work of their children.
  • Make your children responsible for their own work. Parents cannot force their children to study. Complaints and threats don’t work.  Children should know that they are responsible for their own homework and for studying. Parents should give their children responsibility, and let them suffer the consequences if, for example, they do not deliver any homework. The role of parents is to offer help.
  • If the schedule does not work, try a different one. If the plan that parents and children have done doesn’t work, they should change it.  Maybe two short periods a day would be easier than a long period. Perhaps an earlier hour in the afternoon works better than after leaving school.  Parents and their children should stick to a routine until they find one that works for them.

Remember, children must learn that they are responsible for their own learning. Parents can be the difference if they provide their children with the ability to do so.

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