by Becky Spivey, M.Ed.
As a parent, helping your child develop good study habits and organizational skills at an early age requires diligence and persistence. Developing good study habits and organizational skills at an early age helps minimize stress on both children and parents. When children begin school, it is the parents' responsibility to help them establish a routine that encourages and fosters meaningful study time in the home. When parents involve themselves with school and homework, children receive the message that homework and schoolwork are important. Below are tips for assisting your child in becoming a confident, independent, and successful student
Decide on a Homework and Study Routine Together
- Agree upon a study time with your child that is free of TV, radio, phones, and other interruptions. Take into consideration activities and commitments outside of school. Choose a time during the day that your child will be able to concentrate best.
- Create a study area with paper, pencils, etc. Replenish supplies routinely.
- Expect your children to complete homework accurately. Parents should examine homework with the eyes of the teacher. Make suggestions to children how to improve the assignment. Proofread and check your child's assignments. Check for legibility, neatness, spelling, complete sentences, and punctuation errors.
- Insist that homework takes priority over other activities.
- Limit after-school activities if there are so many commitments that the child has no time or energy left for homework.
- Make help available for the child who is struggling. Engage tutors, a teacher hotline, or neighbors who are knowledgeable in different subject areas and willing to help your child.
Organization is Essential
- Have your child use an assignment book to write down daily assignments and to check them off when completed. Use the assignment book as a communication tool between teacher and parent. Ask the teacher to initial the assignment book after your child writes down the daily assignments to ensure accuracy.
- Break down long-term assignments and projects into smaller parts. Set goals and plan ahead. Have your child complete a portion of the assignment each day until it is finished. The length of time set aside for homework and studying should be appropriate for the age and ability level of the child. Increase the time as your child matures. Take short breaks when needed.
- Review class notes and highlight important information. Have your child make corrections on assignments that have been returned.
- Place all completed assignments in appropriate folders or notebooks when finished. Pack the backpack for the next day. Establish this as a routine for each evening.
- Display your child's best schoolwork in a place of importance within the home (the refrigerator door, bulletin board, etc.).
- Establish a system of rewards to encourage your child to bring home everything he/ she needs to complete all homework. Establish logical and meaningful consequences for "forgetting" homework and materials. Reward your child for improving grades and study habits.