Tips for helping your kids with homework and studying

Supportive, actively involved, and interested parents nurture well rounded and self-motivated children who realise the importance of homework and studying. It is a fact that most children do not enjoy homework – they would much rather be doing something fun. You must make them understand that everyone has obligations in life.

Routines Are Important

Set up a routine that becomes a habit. Some children prefer to work immediately after school while others function better later in the day or after dinner. Teach them time-management skills and allow them to lead the way in creating their planners and calendars. This can be a bulletin board on the wall or a calendar with space for writing daily. They can use colour-coding for different subjects and different types of assignments, tests, or exams. Help them to break up the body of their work into manageable chunks.

Give them an allocated space for homework and studying. It must be well-lit, comfortable, and stocked with supplies. Some children prefer to study at school or in the library – they must be allowed to decide what works for them. Limit distractions like TV, radio, and mobile phones. Many children do work better while listening to music but make sure this does not become the focus. A helpful tip is to give them a Worry Pad while studying. When they feel distracted by thoughts in their head, they can rather write them down and come back to them later when the study session is over. This prevents them from mulling over an unrelated problem that can distract them from the task at hand.

Support without Execution

Your child needs your support but does not need you to do their homework for them as this robs them of the opportunity of learning for themselves. They must know that you are interested and involved, but don’t hover: rather stay busy and wait for them to ask for help. Then offer guidance and suggestions rather than just supplying the answer. Encourage independent thinking. Talk to them about what they are studying – let them explain a section to you. Your presence and support create a positive learning environment.

Model learning behaviour. Let them “catch” you reading a book, learning a new skill, or balancing your books. Offer ongoing learning opportunities like visiting a museum or watching a relevant documentary together.

Praise Their Efforts

Your child must see you as an ally when it comes to their teachers. Know what the teachers expect and show your support by attending school events and parent-teacher meetings. Check-in on their studying. Make sure they know how to take notes, skim read, study tables and charts, and summarise. These techniques need to be learnt and constantly practised. Learning study strategies can reduce any stress surrounding school and homework and improve grades. Pretest Plus is a useful resource in assisting your child to prepare for tests and exams. They can identify and review problem areas while learning key techniques and skills to maximise their potential and give them the edge over the competition.

Give Them a Break

It is also very important to remember that we all need a break sometimes. If you see your child struggling with a section of homework, encourage them to leave it for a while. Move onto something else or take a short walk. Offer them some hot chocolate and a cookie.

Teach them breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. These will be beneficial even after school and studying is over. Remind them to focus on the process, not the product. Do not allow yourself to be seen worshipping grades; it is more important that your child is happy, confident, and well-rounded. This being said, do not over-schedule their lives. Extra-murals are great in providing time away from studies but don’t allow these to become the focus. Reward them sometimes. Find the balance.

Make sure your child is getting enough sleep. This improves mood, concentration, creativity and memory, as well as the ability to deal with stress. On the day of the test or exam, remind your child to take a deep breath, relax, and dive in. Through your assistance with the organisation of their time and habits, your child will hopefully feel secure enough to win the race and reap the rewards.

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