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Oh, that. Just my spelling list for the week. As a former student myself, I attempted the same feat of putting off until the last minute the reading, studying and writing that needed doing. And in my career as a teacher, I witnessed the same dynamic in my students. As such, it was my job to instill in my students study habits that could offer them better chances of success. But the ideal outcome we parents hope for in instilling good study habits now is that our children have a better chance of long-term success in the future, particularly when we can no longer be there holding their hand through the process.

The year my son first started getting daily homework, we did some experimenting.

Initially, because the assignments were never anything more than a single, simple math worksheet, I let him play awhile after school before settling down to complete it. It rarely took him more than five minutes to do, so it was something we could squeeze in before or after dinner without difficulty. As he got older, however, the homework got harder and took longer. I noticed it was difficult to pry him away from his chosen after-school activity without some pushback. Doing homework around the dinner hour also upset our routine for the rest of the evening.

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Bath and bed time got delayed, which caused mornings to become more difficult. So, we attempted and settled into a different schedule. After school, my son had a snack and then delved right into his homework, before any playing began. The more he focused on his work, the quicker it was done. The sooner it was done, the more time he had left for play before dinner. That sequence of events worked for us. But he soon realized that once the work was behind him, he could relax for the entire evening without some dreaded activity looming at the end of it.

Not all kids are mentally ready to dive into homework immediately after getting home from school, though.


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Some need a short break from the stresses of the day. Whatever your circumstance, it is most important that, as much as your family schedule allows, you create consistency to develop good study habits. People who adhere to a routine are shown to be more efficient, to procrastinate less and to have more self-confidence. According to my son, they received some unimportant word list every Monday with which they never had to do anything…except for that pesky little spelling quiz every Friday.

Every day, we did a simple practice quiz with the spelling words. And, sometimes, his practice would be as simple as writing them in colorful chalk markers on our little chalkboard that hangs in the kitchen. Some kids like to do schoolwork at a desk in their room. Others prefer not to be so isolated. In all my years of teaching and tutoring, I have found one good study habit to be invaluable for all types of students: flashcards.

They work so well because they require the student to both write down and verbally recall the information being studied.


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  • As such, they appeal to the visual, kinesthetic and auditory learner. So, I have my son write his words down. Together, they cited 7 references. Categories: Studying. It also received 19 testimonials from readers, earning it our reader-approved status. Learn more Method 1. Make your children realize that how they study is important. Show them some examples. Bring your children to a person who is study-conscious, and have your children ask why he or she studies so much. Tell them about the days of your childhood at school and explain how challenging and fun it was to study.

    Start young.

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    As soon as your child starts any type of schooling, start showing them how to balance their time. Teach them that school is a priority over things like games and TV, and get them into the habit of finishing their school work before anything else. Teach consequences. Depending on where you live, your child's school may not require students that fail a class to do any sort of make-up course.

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    You can usually find some sort of summer school option, however, whether it is through the school or an external program. Your child probably won't love the idea of summer classes—but this can be a great way to teach them that if they studied harder during the year, they would have more free time during the summer. Remedial courses may help your kids catch up the rest of their peers in the following year, ensuring that they don't fall further behind. Try not to force studying on your child. Over time, this may condition them to avoid studying at all costs.

    If you sit your child down at the kitchen table for three hours with a textbook and lock the door, chances are that they will refuse to do what you want them to do.


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    • If you pressure them constantly about the importance of studying and shout at them when they don't, the child may begin to resent both studying itself and you as a figure of authority within the house. Set a good example. Let your child see you working on something work-related.

      When your kid studies or completes a homework assignment, sit with her and work on something that you need to do. Set an hour aside each night for study— this includes you! Take breaks.

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      Balance out rigorous studying with unstructured play time. Make sure that your children take short breaks to decompress in the midst of a study session, or else they may get too stressed—which can negatively impact their health, their social life, and their academic performance. Studying for over 20 minutes at a time can lead young children to lose focus, so 20 minutes of rest for every 20 minutes of study may help your child memorize what they're reading. Make sure their eyes are properly rested, and make sure that they get plenty of time outside.

      Don’t cram!

      If you force your children to work for longer than they are able to focus, they may not get as much out of their study—and they may develop negative associations with the whole act of studying. Look at your child's friend group. If your son's friends aren't very into school and studying, there's a good chance that their habits and behavior are influencing your son's attitude. Consider whether it is your place or your responsibility to interfere with your child's social life. Ultimately, short of changing schools, there may be few invasive ways to change your child's social life.

      Method 2. Set up a reward system. We are wired to believe that our work should be rewarded, so make studying rewarding.

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      One less chore, an extra dollar in their allowance, more TV time—whatever motivates your kids and works in your household. Make sure that you clearly explain how the system works, then stick to that system. For instance: If they study for an hour today, they can get a chocolate bar, or an extra 30 minutes of free time. Some children may not take the offer Tell your child if they don't study, then they don't get something. For instance: If they don't study for an hour today, they don't get to catch up with their friends. Inspire your children with goals.

      Studying can feel pointless and abstract for children when they don't see where it is all leading. Make sure that they understand where studying can take them. Talk to them about how studying can improve their grades, which will, in turn, increase the amount of colleges they can go to—which can empower them to do anything they might want to do in the future! Engage your child by relating less "fun" topics to the subjects that she loves.

      Most kids will naturally click better with certain subjects. Over time, they may learn to love the subjects that come easy and dislike the topics that take more work.