by Dr. Lisa Lenhart, Ph.D.; Child Psychologist
As children advance through school, the expectations for more independent work and improved study skills advances with them. Formal study skills and organizational skills are not always taught to children, necessitating parents taking an active role in the process of their children developing these skills. Here are some tips on helping your child develop the study skills necessary for success in school.
1. Recognize that different study habits are needed for the different classes your child is taking. For example, the best way to study for a math class is very different from the best way to study for an English class and from a foreign language class.
2. Provide your child with a list of best ways to study for the different types of courses- or better yet, have them research effective study habits; doing this independently helps increase their sense of ownership in the process.
3. Talk about need to take notes on reading material, and then to study these notes as well as notes from class for examinations.
4. Encourage your child to check in with their teacher prior to the examination to ensure solid knowledge of material that will be on test. Your child can also ask the teacher the format of the test (i.e., essay examination, multiple choice), as this could impact the best way to study for the test.
5. Have your child check the online system, if your school has one, on a daily basis to make sure they have all required assignments completed, and are aware of all upcoming deadlines.
6. Color code folders or use a binder with dividers for easy placement of worksheets, handouts, and other assignments for each class.
7. Talk with your child about the need to break down larger assignments into smaller component parts, setting deadlines for each smaller part. Going through this process with your child conjointly the first few times can be helpful in developing this skill.
8. Be aware and available for your child, but also allow them to develop the skills to independently manage their academic workload. Knowing the assignments and tests coming up allows you to check on the status of assignment completion and on your child’s preparation for examinations. Being available to help quiz your child on vocabulary, factual questions, or study guides can be helpful for students in feeling ready for the examination. But at the same time, try not to hover or direct so much that your child feels less need to take responsibility for the test preparation and completion of tasks.
These skills are not necessarily learned automatically, and children need guidance in order to develop healthy study habits. Helping the development of such skills will set stage for your child being an organized and productive adult.