Teaching children to manage their studyGood study habits are learned. Here's how to teach them.
Academic success is very important to many parents. Frustratingly for many parents, their children often do not see academic success as important at all! This presents a significant challenge for mums and dads who want their children to do well at school in order to have a larger number of good quality career options following school. The following tips can be useful in helping your children to become independent students who know how to manage their own time and studies effectively:
1. Make age-appropriate requests Studying is hard work. Young children will typically have less ability (and less need) to study, whereas older children will have both greater need to study, and greater ability to do so. Don't have too high an expectation on children under around Year 10 to do significant amounts of study. A great deal of research indicates that high workloads and monotonous study can actually lead to poorer performance and motivation at school, particularly before the age of 15. After age 15, around two hours per night seems to be about right.
2. Force creates resistance, so allow autonomyChildren respond to requests best when they are give the opportunity to make their own choices. If you try to force them to study, they will likely resist. Imagine if your supervisor at work demanded that you to go into the office and stay there until your work's done!Most adults would find this inappropriate. Yet many parents feel compelled to make these kinds of demands of their children. And like adults, they resist being told what to do. Instead, it can be useful to ask, 'What were you planning on studying today? What can I do to help you with your studies? Some gentle reminders may also be helpful, such as 'Your exams are only 2 weeks away. How do you plan to prepare?'
3. Encourage routine When children have a consistent routine that includes study, there is less need to continually harp on about it. Sixteen year-old Alissa knew that every afternoon when she arrived home she had three things to complete before she could have her own time. She had to practice her musical instrument for 30 minutes, study, and prepare the table for dinner. The rest of the afternoon was hers. This routine meant that there were few family arguments about priorities.Nine year-old Jacob had an afternoon schedule that consisted of afternoon tea, unpacking his school bag, reading for a short time to his mum, and then working on projects for 30 minutes. Then he played with his friends.
4. Minimise distractionsLet your children know that television, Internet, friends, the phone, the DS, x-box, swimming pool, bikes, and any other distractions will be available to them AFTER they have completed the appropriate studies.