When it comes to studying, most children are less than enthusiastic about the task. Doing work at home feels just like an extension of school. If you start them early enough, they can develop good study habits that will serve them well throughout their educational career.
Choose a place for studying. When kids are in elementary school, the best place for them to study is at the kitchen or dining room table. On a large surface there is room for them to spread out their materials and stay organized. Young children need to learn how to keep their notebooks and folders clean and neat so that they can find assignments when they need them.
If your child is of middle school age (grades six through eight), the kitchen table is a good idea as well. They may want to study in their bedroom, but if distractions exist there, it is not a good idea, especially if they are not disciplined. Besides, the kitchen table is the perfect height for your child to sit properly at the table. Children should not slouch when studying, but stay upright and alert for the information to sink in.
Turn off the television set in the room where your child is studying. Even as background noise, the voice on the set will drown out their thoughts. Before long, they will stop studying altogether and start watching the show. The problem with background noise of any kind is that during a test, there will be none. If a child gets used to hearing these sounds, the silence of the classroom could break their concentration during the test.
Study time for one child should be study time for all. One set study time will ensure that the house is quiet for everyone when they are trying to learn. The ringer can be turned off on the phone during that time, especially if you are helping your child with their homework and/or studying.
Keep all materials handy in one spot. If the kitchen table is to be the designated “study and homework" spot, keep a desk organizer there so that when your child is ready to sit down, they won’t need to keep hopping up to get supplies. Part of organization is having everything they need at their fingertips.
Most kids have short attention spans. Sitting quietly doing anything for more than twenty minutes could send them over the edge. After twenty minutes, give them a ten minute break to stretch and get some water. Another alternative would be to give them thirty to forty minutes of “unwind time" when they first get home from school to play and then have them sit down and get their work done. The former may be a better idea for younger children; the latter works well for middle school children.
For younger children, the parent staying at the table doesn’t bother them. You can watch them as they write their alphabet or add their numbers. Pointing out mistakes along the way actually helps them. But, let them correct the mistakes by themselves. Resist the urge to take the pencil and do it yourself.
Middle school children will not want you to hang over their shoulder. Sitting in the next room within earshot is far enough away for their comfort but still close enough for questions. If you have taught them well from an early age, they will be fine. By this time, they can also study at the desk in their room as long as they observe the rules about no T. V. , no phone, and no other distractions.
Parents have to be creative when it comes to teaching study habits. If there is a plan set in place from the time they start school, the chances are good that they will keep up the program. Make sure that you follow through on your part so that you are not sabotaging your child’s efforts.
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