For some parents, the smell of freshly sharpened #2 Ticonderoga pencils, the sight of untouched double-ruled notebooks, and the sound of binder rings snapping closed signal the end of chaotic summer days and the beginning of more structured school ones. For others, however, these smells, sights, and sounds do the opposite — they bring to mind afterschool meltdowns over math sheets, book reports, and science projects.
In the past, what separated parents in the former camp from those in the latter was an “unruly, undisciplined child.” Today, however, experts agree the separation lies more in the studying routine than the individual child.
How To Help Your Child Study Better, From Certified Teachers
According to the New York Times, most students’ homework anxiety stems from one of three primary challenges: Feeling overwhelmed, procrastination, or struggling to retain information. Though every elementary-aged child is different, all can benefit from effective homework habits and routines. Establishing homework routines now can help your child long into the future.
Teachers from across the nation weigh-in, giving their expert advice and opinions on how parents can help their children study better.
It’s All About Routine
According to Karen Cordova, education specialist with Fallbrook STEM Academy in Fallbrook, CA, routine is key to avoiding challenges one and two (feeling overwhelmed and procrastination). She tells Parentology, “If parents dedicate a time and place to homework, there’s less likelihood of the student wriggling out of studying. A routine becomes more effective as the student becomes used to it. Kids like routine, as it makes them feel secure.”
Lindsay Johnson, who teaches fifth grade at Oakland Park Traditional School in Columbus, Ohio, agrees with this advice. “Have a routine and a set time for doing homework,” she tells Parentology. “For instance, make studying time before or after a snack. Always do homework at the table. Ensure your child completes homework before moving onto chores or sports or other after school obligations.”
Know When To Stop
Some children prefer to do their homework all at once and get it over with, while others need to do it in intervals. It’s important for parents to know which camp their child falls into, as understanding may mean the difference between a child successfully completing his or her assignments, or a meltdown.
“Know your child’s endurance,” Cordova says. “It’s best to get in 15 to 20 minutes of studying and end on a successful note. Pushing boundaries and ending in a meltdown will create a negative connotation between learning and studying.”
Make It Fun
Studying doesn’t have to be a chore, and with Johnson’s advice, it doesn’t have to be. “Make it fun,” she encourages parents. “Play sight word games, number games, etc. Use flashcards to race against the clock — the more cards your child gets correct, the more points he or she accrues. You can also use colors to code items that are similar across similar topics.”
Finally, Cordova encourages parents to communicate with the school. “Homework should always be at an independent or max instructional level. Its purpose should be to practice and develop future study skills, not frustrate the child. If homework gets the point of frustration, or if it’s taking too long, parents should have that communication with the teacher.”
We get it — studying is never fun for any child or parent. However, with the above tips, you can make the chore a little easier on you and your student.