Encouraging your children to develop good study habits from an early age is one of the most important tasks you can do as a parent. By showing your children how important it is to value education and study hard, you will help them develop a love of study that will last a lifetime and put them on the right track for future career success and happiness. The skills and values that your children learn from you will allow them to become successfully motivated and independent people.
Step 1. Start showing your children “academic” activities as early as 2 years old
Some recommendations are: reading books, drawing, painting, learning simple math, doing basic grammar exercises, learning a language, learning to play an instrument, and learning new vocabulary by drawing pictures.
- Feel free to buy your children commercial toys, games, art supplies, exercise books, index cards, and other learning materials. You can also create your own or make them together with your children
Make sure the time you spend with your children is quality time, so sit down together and stay until the activity is finished. Don't give them a book and go. Even if they already know how to read, it will be more fun for them if you are with them; have them read aloud.
- Children love spending time and having their parents' attention. If you can make “academic time” a fun and frequent part of their routine, your children will associate learning and teaching with pleasant emotions.
Step 2. When your kids start homework, most likely in kindergarten, get them in the habit of setting aside special time as soon as they get home to do their homework
Tell them that homework time is the first hour after school, but they can play earlier if they finish their homework early.
- Instead of having your kids do their homework as soon as they get home from school, you can also set aside a free time schedule and then set aside an hour for homework. However, it is usually easier to get children to do their homework when they are indoors than after they go out to play.
- It is important to schedule the same “homework time” schedule for every day of the week from an early age because your tasks are relatively easy and entertaining. As children, they are malleable, they will gladly listen to you and will finish their assignments when they get home from school. If you continue to apply this method as they grow older, they will start to want to schedule that time for themselves in the future.
- During the weekends, you should also schedule a time (ex: 3pm to 4pm) for your children to complete homework assigned by the school or academic homework that you have prepared. This would be the ideal time to do the activities mentioned in step 1.
Step 3. When your children start to have more independence, stop being so involved in their study schedules
The last years of elementary school or the first years of high school (5th grade to 7th grade) is a good time to do this, depending on how quickly your children mature.
- Start by reminding them to do their homework as soon as they get home from school, but don't organize every detail of the method they choose to do it. You don't need to know all the tasks they have before they do them. However, you may want to keep looking at their homework logs and knowing the due dates to make sure your kids get their homework done.
- When they are in later years of school, your children will begin to have multi-subject assignments and different due dates. Don't encourage them to start a job the night before it is due. Instead, make sure they do a little bit every day. In this way, they will be forced to do their jobs on time.
Step 4. When your kids are in 8th grade or high school, decrease the number of times you remind them of their study schedule, and see how they respond
Are they still doing their homework after school without your intervention? If so, congratulations - you have successfully encouraged effective study habits! If not, punish them for their irresponsibility and keep monitoring their study schedule for as long as necessary.
- Tell your children that if they show initiative to do their homework and, therefore, they can earn your trust To organize your work independently, the reward will be that you will no longer intervene.
Step 5. As your children are exposed to increasingly difficult materials, teach them effective study techniques so they can deal with new work materials
Some recommendations are, among others:
- Write down each task in a list or agenda with the due date.
For long-term projects, schedule deadlines for certain stages of the project before the final delivery date.
Make flashcards to memorize vocabulary, important characters, dates, language concepts, etc.
- Begin studying for exams at least three days before exam day to maximize information retention.
- When studying for midterms or final exams, divide what you are going to study into units and decide in advance when you are going to study for each of them.
- Find classmates to form study groups.
- Take detailed notes in class and review them after school to reinforce what you learned early (so that when you come the night before the test, remembering everything is much easier).
Step 6. Even if your kids are in high school and need to get organized to do their homework, ask them if they have any upcoming tests or projects coming up and if they have any plans to do them
Even if you don't ask them for the details of their plan, your question will remind them to start early, create a plan, and finish it soon. You should continue to show that you care about their academic success and that you will reward them for their good study habits.
- Do what you say Let your kids see you doing productive things, like keeping up with current events, reading books, preparing presentations for work in advance, etc. This will be a very good example for them to be proactive.
- Reward their good behavior with gifts and time to play with their friends, especially as your children become more independent. This will encourage them to do things well in the future.
- Do not allow your children not to comply with their study hours without some kind of punishment. Being strict with your study schedule is the only way to instill in them study as a constant routine.
- Allow your children to chat with you so they can make a change in their study schedule. If they have a reasonable justification for postponing the schedule, listen to them. Be willing to agree to encourage independent reasoning.
- When creating academic activities for your children, change the topics from time to time. For example, Monday and Wednesday could be math, Tuesday and Thursday could be reading, and Friday could be art. This way, your children will be less bored with these activities.
- Remember that some children learn very differently from their classmates or siblings. There are well-known companies, such as Sylvan, Kumon, and Appleton, that have offices throughout the country and can provide more help and personalized and structured instruction for children who have difficulty adopting good academic habits. Children sometimes respond well to guidance from parents and other adult role models.
- Don't be frustrated if your kids aren't cooperative or complain about the after-school homework schedule. He insists that this routine is the one that has to be done at home. Be patient, help your children with any questions they may have, and tell them that their effort will pay off in the future.
- If your child is not very good by nature at a subject and / or does not like it (eg math). Help him with his homework and keep encouraging him. Start out by giving him easy problems that you know he can solve just so he can build up his confidence in solving the harder problems. It would also be a good idea to do homework for that subject and homework for a subject that your child does like on the same day.