Start Off Right with Good Study Habits
Category: Patient Stories
- Good sleeping habits
Keeping to a good sleep schedule is important to ensure children are well rested for school. “Often there are distractions in a child’s bedroom that parents don’t realize are detrimental, such as TVs, phones and music,” says Dr. Billman. “Often when there are sleep issues, it’s related to that.” Removing the electronics from the bedrooms make a big difference, and so can making sure there is some wind-down time between studying and sleep. “If a school project isn’t going well, a child is going to go to bed very stressed and worried and may have trouble falling asleep,” he says. With evening activities, it may be hard to find wind-down time, but it’s an important transition to allow for good, restful sleep.
- Designate a study area
Having a central place to study where parents can monitor activity is a worthwhile idea. “It’s good to be away from the TV and other distractions,” Dr. Billman says. Being in a central place also lets parents or older siblings be available for help if the child needs it. And make sure the area has good lighting and room to spread out. Some kids like to change it up, studying on the floor in the living room one day and in their bedroom the next. WebMD has a FitMove Handbook that suggests taking short movement breaks and changing study areas can be helpful for concentration.
- Establish a study routine
Finding a routine that works for your child is helpful. Find out when projects are due, and help your child plan ahead so they aren’t rushing to finish at the last minute. Children thrive on routine, so if you can establish a study routine that is comfortable for them, you’re ahead of the game. Healthychildren.org, the website of the American Academy of Pediatrics, has some tips that can help you support your child’s study routine.
- Let your child own their study time
Study time can be more successful if your child takes some ownership of when they want to study. If they help set up the area, they can arrange it to their liking. Let them come up with the study plan, which parents can then approve and support. “Then the parent isn’t the dictator and the child doesn’t buck against it so hard,” says Dr. Billman.
- Respect your child’s personality
“Some children like to study right after school to get it over with, and some like to get outside and play first,” he says. Respect your child’s personality; let them choose which to do first. Sometimes guidelines, such as no video games until homework is done, work better than hard-and-fast rules.