Study Tips for Kids
It's nearly test time. For three weeks you have been doing all you
can to encourage your child to study. You've helped create an effective
routine, minimised the distractions, followed up gently, and personally
reviewed aspects of your child's study. Yet you're still concerned.
Research demonstrates that harassing children about homework and study can be detrimental to their motivation and performance. Yet as parents we all want our child to do well at school. Successful outcomes at school generally lead to wider, better, bigger opportunities later in life. Being on their back won't help - it may make things worse! But leaving it all up to them can often fail to achieve anything either.
When they're younger, children will have little (if any) need to study for exams. (As an aside, recent research has demonstrated that too much emphasis on practicing for "standardised" tests actually leads to lower test results.)
There are some things that parents can do to encourage effective study:
1. Group Work
Encourage your children to study in small groups (usually groups of 3-5). They can enjoy one another's company, but also focus on the subject of interest. By quizzing one another on appropriate subject-matter, students can teach one another. Encourage your children to attend the group with questions and answers already prepared. As they ask one another their questions, they will usually cover most of the content in great depth, sharing answers and adding insight.
2. Goal Setting
Ask your child what he or she would like to achieve in a certain subject. By setting a goal and creating a pathway to obtain that goal, your child is far more likely to perform well. Goal setting is one of the most powerful ways to obtain positive outcomes in any area of life, including school.
3. Redefine success
By making success about effort rather than results, children will feel good for working hard. They are more likely to feel that they have been successful, regardless of the result, if their time is used productively in study. This is counter-intuitive in some ways, but emphasising results increases pressure and can lead to poor outcomes. Emphasising effort reduces pressure, often promotes MORE effort, and ultimately may bring about better results!
4. Removing Distractions
Internet, phones, games, television, and any number of other distractions can be harmful to study! Get them away from ANYONE who should be studying - until the study is over.
5. Just do it
Ultimately, study is really only going to be successful if your child will sit down, be dedicated, and put in the time that is required to learn the material.
The more a parent forces a child to study, the less effective the study will be and the less motivated the child will be. But the more the parent encourages the child to manage his or her own studies, work with other students on appropriate tasks, set goals, and minimise distractions, the more the child will study and be motivated to focus on worthwhile pursuits.