Kids need to study. For many parents, time spent helping with homework and studying for exams takes up as much time in the evening as there are minutes. For young children attending elementary school the exams may be nothing more than a spelling test, however for older children tests and exams can be a weekly occurrence. It is important as a parent that you strive to provide some autonomy in their educational responsibility while remaining available. Study habits can be the difference between an A or C student and preparing them to study on their own is crucial. Not only will it save your sanity, but also it will put them on the road to confidence academically.
If you struggle with your child when it comes to studying for exams or tests, you are not alone. Many parents scratch their heads in wonderment about how in the world their children get along in school. The minute you try to instruct, teach or help them with their work they react with such disdain and attitude that the entire sit down turns into more of an ordeal than studying. This is just one of the reasons that you need to teach kids to study on their own. Your child will work better with teachers, peers and other people in general than they will with you for the simple reason that they know to restrain their frustration in the class room (at least hopefully).
When your child is young, make sure that you immediately get into the routine of homework before play. When they get home from school, they should be allowed to relax and perhaps have a snack, but then homework needs to become the priority. What works well for many parents is to have them at the kitchen table, with the TV off while you are preparing a meal or doing chores. This way you are there to help but not in their face so to speak. Be very careful not to give them the answers! Sometimes it can be so frustrating that they aren’t getting something simple it’s just easier to give them the answer. But if this becomes a habit, you will be in trouble. Also, when they are doing homework projects or other tasks, don’t step in and do it for them so they will have a good showing. The teachers know what child did the work and whose parents did the project on their computer.
When your child is studying, try to find things that work for them. Each child learns on a different level. Some simply remember the words etc (photogenic memory) but struggle to work through the problem solving parts. Many kids are auditory learners, which means that talking and listening to the material will make it stick. Some, but very few – will remember just by reading quietly and reviewing. As a parent helping your child study for exams, you should mix it up a bit. You may want to look at the material for yourself and try to make up a pseudo exam based on their notes or textbooks to see what they know. Also, make sure that you rephrase questions and wordings to ensure that they aren’t just remembering the material, but understanding what it all means as well.
When you help your child study, you have to be firm without being overbearing. Consider how their teacher might react to their questions. If they are not getting something, then you have to look out of the box to find things that may help them. Music, DVD’s and other learning websites may provide the visual experience your child needs to get the concepts. At some point, however you have to trust your child to learn the material and see the learning as their responsibility. There is no excuse for a child to come home after bombing a test if they have parents at home who are willing and able to help them. Still, the initial inertia should come from your child.
As you help them study, also allow them to come up with some study habits of their own. Make sure that you teach them how to organize their material and go through their stuff (no matter how old they are) quite often so that you can check it. Children should be taught to treat their schoolwork as their job. They should also be able to schedule themselves accordingly and have a consequence to putting things off. If you have a properly set up place to study and have shown them how to do these things – then the rest may just be a lot of review. Also, while EVERY class your child takes is important, there will be some that are much harder for your child to grasp. This just shows that your child has a completely independent personality. When you begin to notice that they are struggling out of boredom for the subject matter, try to make it fun. While many kids suffer in math, turning math studies into money can make things more comprehendible. When you find connective avenues to reach your kid where their interests are, you will be more likely to help them learn the material.
Helping children study for exams is something that should be started early in life. When you help them set education priorities from the beginning and remain strict that they are adhered to, your child will see that they are responsible for their actions. One of the biggest struggles that college students face is learning how to handle the challenges of disciplining themselves to study and get things accomplished. This starts at home, many years before they step foot into a dorm. By showing children that they need to be accountable for their work and show ownership over both their performance and study habits – you take the biggest and most necessary step to helping them study. Beyond that, as a parent you have to remain patient and realize that in a classroom environment they are not afforded individual time and techniques tailored to their personality. But at home, you can do this. When it comes to learning and children, knowledge is power and the more knowledge and know-how you give your child – the more self confident that they will.