Another school year is here. Is your child ready?
When it comes to studying, kids need to have good habits to start the year off right and stay on track. Good study habits will build strong math students and instill a positive outlook on their learning, which is so important for young students.
Fortunately, this does not have to be overwhelming. Here are five tips to help your child develop good study habits:
Tip #1: Find the best time to study and stick to it.
One thing is for sure, daily study time is important, and this is undoubtedly true for math. Together with your child, determine the best time to do this each day. When does your child feel they are most productive? Are there extracurricular activities to consider? Since consistency is most important in building habits, it is critical to prioritize these study sessions.
Building this habit is a team effort and can be made into a fun family activity. Perhaps take some time this month to sit with your child and create a monthly or weekly calendar to display the schedule visually. You may need to tweak the schedule throughout the year so consider a magnetic, Velcro, or dry-erase board. Use stickers and colors so the calendar is attractive. Hang the schedule somewhere where it will be easily accessible throughout the school year!
Tip #2: Set aside downtime for rest and play.
A well-rested student shows up alert to school, with a positive attitude, ready to focus. A good night’s sleep helps a student process information and better retain the material studied that day.1 To ensure a good night’s sleep, setting rules for electronics use and eating might be helpful.
Besides rest, we know that a balance of study and play is beneficial for any child to keep them engaged and happy. Dedicate time for play, just like you do for study. A student who gets outside to exercise has an easier time focusing on their studies, is better equipped to face emotional challenges, and has a better night’s sleep.2
Tip #3: Foster the art of taking good notes …
… and reviewing them.
Taking good notes in class as well as at home is a valuable skill to have. Here are some ways your child can get the most out of it:
- Copy class notes over by hand. This is a great way to keep it in memory.3
- Make sure your child understands what they have written down. If not, ask questions.
- Discuss school lessons with friends or family members. Teaching is a proven way to master your skills.4
- Revisit and review notes regularly to keep the material fresh.
Tip #4: Set personal goals.
Your child is never too young to set a goal and work towards it. Whether it is to complete all assigned homework, improve a grade over a specific period, or excel in class in both understanding and grades, a goal will push your child forward.
How can you help your child achieve their goals?
- Start by asking what they want to accomplish. Explore academic and non-academic goals.
- Make a checklist to have something to look at and work toward; after all, there is nothing better than checking something off a list! Alternatively, consider a vision board or a goal ladder.
- Avoid comments such as, “This is easy,” “This is going to be tough,” or “I was never good at this either.” Encourage your child to begin the school year with a clean slate.
Tip #5: Create a study space that works for your child.
Finally, effective study takes place in a space that feels comfortable and safe. Your child will be most productive in a dedicated, organized study space.
Whether it is a separate room or the corner of a shared space, designate an area of study that is distraction-free, clean, and organized. Be sure to have the necessary supplies and keep them in this specific location for easy access. Consider decorating the space with the child’s accomplishments and words of inspiration.
A lack of organization directly correlates with student success and grades.5 Following these tips will help your child get the most out of this new year. And effective study habits, when implemented correctly and consistently, can lead to personal discipline — a critical component to lifetime success.
Mathnasium is dedicated to helping students succeed in math, in school, and in life. If you find that your child could use additional support in math — or even in reinforcing good study habits — call or stop by the Mathnasium Learning Center nearest you. And stay tuned for more tips and insights to help you navigate this school year with success.
1. Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, Sleep, Learning, and Memory, Healthy Sleep, December 18, 2007.
2. SickKids staff, Physical activity: Benefits of exercise for health and wellbeing, SickKids: About Kids Health, May 22, 2020.
3. Mueller, Pam A., and Daniel M. Oppenheimer, The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking, Psychological Science 25, no. 6 (June 2014): 1159-68. https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797614524581.
4. Muis, Krista R., Psaradellis, Cynthia, Chevrier, Marianne, Di Leo, Ivana, and Lajoie, Susanne P., Learning by preparing to teach: Fostering self-regulatory processes and achievement during complex mathematics problem solving, Journal of Educational Psychology 108, no. 4 (2016): 474-492. https://doi.org/10.1037/edu0000071.
5. Gambill, Jill M., Moss, Lauralee A., and Vescogni, Christie D. The Impact of Study Skills and Organizational Methods on Student Achievement, Eric, May 2008. ED501312.