Study Habits To Help Your Child Succeed In Elementary School and Beyond
As parents, we have a lot on our plates. When a child asks for help with homework, or when you find that their report card is not looking as good as it could, the idea of sitting down to help your child with homework after a long day may sound daunting. But a few simple study habits can go a long way to helping your child succeed. You don’t need to spend hours doing homework with your grade-schooler every night. Instead, you can help them develop strong study habits that will come in handy not just this school year, but for many years to come, even in your child’s professional life.
Good study habits don’t come naturally to grade-schoolers. As a leading tutoring service in Los Angeles, we work with students to develop study skills while they gain mastery of the material for each subject. Today we are sharing a few tips for helping your child develop strong, effective study habits. With these tips, your child will be more able to effectively use their study time, minimize homework frustration, and enjoy more free time to play or do what they love.
Time management, focus, and balancing self-care are essential skills in the real world. Helping your child thrive in school prepares them for all of life’s demands. Perhaps you can even learn a thing or two about managing your own time!
Set A Fixed Time For Homework
Most elementary school age kids in Los Angeles have busy schedules. After a long day at school, there are sports, extracurricular activities, playdates, or after-school care. In Southern California, we also have extra time in traffic to contend with. By the time you get dinner on the table, homework may be the last thing on your child’s mind. The key to avoiding late-night meltdowns over homework is to officially put homework on your child’s daily schedule.
In general, it is recommended to get homework done either before dinner or as early in the evening as possible with your child’s schedule and family commitments. The later it gets, the more tired the child becomes and the more slowly the homework gets done.
Sit down with your child and schedule homework time together. Set a start and end time, and be sure to plan for study breaks. Then, help your child stick to their new schedule. It may take a couple of weeks to find a groove, as interruptions or distractions come up. Stay consistent with the schedule and remind the entire family that homework time is a priority. You can use technology to help you: set reminders on your phone to make sure time doesn’t get away from everyone. After a while, study time will become a regular and expected part of the day. And studies show that children with a structured routine tend to feel more secure and less stressed.
Teach Your Child To Create A Dedicated Study Space
As parents, we picture our children doing homework in a quiet room with perfect lighting and no distractions. In the real world, that is not always possible. No dedicated room for homework? No problem. You can create a portable “homework station” to keep all of your child’s school and homework supplies handy.
Furthermore, some kids can actually focus better when surrounded by other people. Left alone in their room, they may easily become distracted. Good news is, a student can make just about any study space more productive. The key to a dedicated homework space is consistency and boundaries. If your child loves doing homework at the kitchen table, perhaps you can set aside an area where they can set up a “pop-up” homework station. Then, during dinner time, it gets cleaned up.
The kitchen table can be a great space for younger children to work. But as your child moves into middle and high school, they may crave more privacy and a larger dedicated space for their textbooks and devices. If it’s time to upgrade their desk, one way to encourage a dedicated homework space is to allow them to decorate their new space. When their study space fits their style, they will be more likely to enjoy using it. You may need to experiment with a few different types of homework setups before you arrive at the optimal solution for this school year. Then, you can start over next year.
Set Regular But Short Breaks
Research shows that taking purposeful breaks from studying to refresh your brain and body increases your energy, productivity, and ability to focus.
Many professionals use the Pomodoro Technique to increase productivity — working for 25 minutes, then taking a five-minute break. This is a great place to start when planning study breaks as well. Depending on the age of your child, even 25 minutes can be too long to sit still and focus on homework. Try out a few options, see what works best for your child, and be flexible. Once you settle on a study break schedule, plan some simple activities that can help your child relax, but not be so distracted that it is difficult to regain focus.
Here are some ideas for fun short study breaks:
- Go for a walk
- Take a dance break
- Grab a snack or a glass of water
- Do 10 jumping jacks
- Play with building blocks, play dough or a similar fine-motor activity
Try to avoid screen time and TV, which can be very addicting and hard to end after just a few minutes. Save those activities for when homework time is done for the day.
Prioritize Regular Exercise and Sleep
We know that physical activity has great health benefits for our children. But did you know that children who are more physically active have better academic performance, memory, and attention? Daily exercise will keep the brain active. During study breaks, or before and after study sessions, encourage your child to get outside.
Guidelines from the Department of Health and Human Services recommend that children and adolescents age 6 and older get at least an hour a day of moderate or vigorous aerobic activity. Children should do vigorous activities, such as running or biking, at least three days a week.
If that transition from school to home to studying is difficult, try exercise to move the mind forward. You don’t have to spend a lot of time here. A 10-minute bike ride or a 5-minute yoga session may be just the trick to moving on to the next phase of the day.
Now, let’s talk about sleep and homework. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has recommended that children aged 6–12 years should regularly sleep 9–12 hours per 24 hours and teenagers aged 13–18 years should sleep 8–10 hours per 24 hours. According to the CDC, Children and adolescents who do not get enough sleep have a higher risk of obesity, diabetes, injuries, poor mental health, and problems with attention and behavior.
Children who experienced sleep problems had lower performance outcomes on tests of reading than their peers who slept well. New research published in the British Journal of Educational Psychology suggests that sleep problems may negatively affect children’s reading ability.
Parents can support good sleep habits by sticking to a consistent sleep schedule during the school week and on weekends. This means going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning. Create a relaxing sleep environment for your child. Make sure the bedroom is clutter-free, dark and conducive to great sleep. A cool bedroom, between 65 and 67 degrees, is ideal to help kids sleep.
Study Habits For Grade Schoolers and More at Tutoring4Less
Developing good study habits can be tough, and your child needs your help to succeed. Good study habits are essential for developing children into lifelong learners. A lot of this list involves you, the parent, helping your child learn the dos and don’ts of studying. Looking for more ways to help your child succeed in school and beyond? At Tutoring4Less, our mission is to empower our students with the skills needed to become confident thinkers and independent learners that strive for academic success! Schedule a free assessment for your child, and learn how we can help them improve by as much as an entire grade level.