How to: Help Your Kids Build Good Study Habits
A question our teachers hear from students almost every week is:
Why do we have homework? We already spend hours in class!
Their answer is always the same:
Homework helps you build your understanding of what we learned in class. Not only that, it also teaches you how to be responsible, independent, and smart with your time!
Well, according to a study done at the University of Tübingen in Germany, children who do their homework diligently tend to be more conscientious than their peers. Richard Göllner, the author of the study, said “Our results show that homework is not only relevant for school performance, but also for personality development—provided that students put a lot of effort into their assignments.”
But a common problem we hear from the parents of our younger students is:
I want to make sure my children build good habits now before it’s too late. What can I do to point my children in the right direction?
Well, here are 4 tips you can use to make sure your kids are on the right track:
1. USE TIME TO YOUR ADVANTAGE.
We suggest that students do their homework as soon after they return home from school as possible. That way, the information is still fresh in their minds, while they also have enough energy to complete it. Push their extra-curricular activities to after they finish their homework if you can; it’s important to show your children that homework comes first while they’re young.
2. Build the perfect environment for your child.
Have you ever tried to read in a noisy coffee shop? Or tried to study on a crowded train? How’s it working out for you?
Your children need a quiet, well-lit area free of any distractions to do their homework. We suggest you dedicate a special area in your house, whether it’s the desk in your office or the kitchen table. This study zone should remain the same every day; that way your children get used to it and hopefully it becomes a positive trigger for effective study habits.
Remember: Distraction-free means distraction-free. Turn off the TV, turn down the radio, put your cellphone on vibrate. We suggest you take this time to complete a noise-free task of your own, such as some work from the office or perhaps your daily reading. Make sure your children are within arms-length of all of the materials they will need to complete their homework; there’s nothing worse than when your child wanders off to get a pencil and you find them 20 minutes later sprawled out playing with Lego.
3. REMEMBER WHOSE HOMEWORK THIS IS.
Picture this: Your child’s soccer practice is rapidly approaching but you’re sat by your child’s side as they finish their homework, they turn to you and say “I don’t know what the answer is. The teacher didn’t teach us this! I can’t remember how to do this.” Wanting to help, you take a look at the question… immediately, you blurt out “The answer is B".
This is all too common among parents all over the world. Now, we know it’s important to be involved in your child’s learning, but it is more important that your child does their own homework. Placing yourself nearby while they do their homework can be a great compromise because you are able to regulate their frustration and encourage breaks when necessary. If you see signs of confusion or misunderstanding, help guide your children to find the answer for themselves. That means, instead of telling them the answer, you encourage them to use various strategies, such as helping them find the appropriate page in their books, rephrasing the question, or using their mother-tongue to ensure they understand the instructions. The key here is that your child feels like they did it themselves.
4. BE THE CHANGE YOU WANT TO SEE.
Ever heard the saying “Monkey see, monkey do”? Well… how can we expect our children to have a positive attitude towards learning if we don’t show them what that looks like? Tell your children how proud you are of their independence and maturity. Show them you value education by telling them about a new skill you are learning; let them know how much fun learning can be.
Remember: If you treat homework like it’s a burden, your children will, too. Be interested in their work, praise and applaud them, showcase their work in your home. It can be difficult to show your children how much you love and cherish them but, as Haruki Murakami once said, “Everyone has to start somewhere.”
Tried any of these tips before? How did you get on? We want to hear from you! Comment below or find us on social media!