Parents wear many hats: guardian, coach and confidante among others. One of the most important hats children often dread their parents to wear is that of teacher. But parents willingly put on this hat because they are genuinely concerned about their children’s education.
Often times, study sessions with Mom and Dad can turn turbulent. One party gets frustrated the other becomes flustered. But all is not lost.
Here are five ways to improve your child’s study skills:
1. Identify his type of learning
When you child is under- performing in a subject it may not be because he is comprehensively challenged. It could be that the method of instruction does not fit him.
Is it the teacher’s fault? No. It’s just that each child responds differently to instruction. There are three types of learning capacities:
- Auditory; a child prefers to hear or listen to instruction. Often times he may read his lessons aloud.
- Visual; a child may respond better to visual content. He may show an affinity for videos, graphics and images compared to verbal instruction.
- Kinesthetic; this is the modality whereby the child prefers practical application of the lesson. The child is characterized as restless during instruction.
Identifying the type of learning instruction that is more conducive to your child will help you formulate ways of improving study time.
2. Develop a set schedule for studying
One of the most important qualities to have for effective study is discipline. If you want your child to have productive study, you must instill discipline in him.
One of the best ways to introduce discipline is to develop a set schedule for study. To make the schedule easier to follow, plan it with your child. Let him get involved in the planning process. This way he has a measure of accountability and has fewer excuses to skip the schedule.
Once a schedule is set, he must follow it without fail. It is normal for a child to experience days where he is mentally tired or emotionally distressed. When this happens, set him aside and have an open discussion.
Impress upon your child the importance of keeping to the schedule. Let him know that by missing out on the schedule he is introducing undesirable qualities such as procrastination, self- doubt and tardiness.
3. Create a productive environment for study
In the same manner that adults work better in certain environments, so do children. Regardless of how your child prefers to study, you can never go wrong with the following tips:
- Keep his study table organized and clean.
- Books and references must be within reach.
- Remove all sources of distraction especially the mobile phone.
- Have a few snacks and water available. No sugary snacks or drinks!
- If a computer is allowed, make sure there is no access to irrelevant websites or social media.
Lastly, advise everyone in the household to respect your child’s study period. Do not knock in his room unless it is a life or death situation. All phone callers should be asked to call back after the study period.
4. Get creative
There are other ways you can improve upon the child’s study skills outside text books, notes and references.
Here are a few suggestions:
- Hire a tutor or enroll your child in a tutorial program to handle more difficult subjects.
- Look for past papers or exams as test samples.
- Use online resources especially those in video instruction format.
- Set up a study group made of trusted students.
- Implement role- playing. After you’ve completed instruction, ask your child to feedback all the information to you. Or ask your child to tutor another child.
- Be innovative. Some studies show that studying one hour before bedtime significantly improves memory retention. Why not apply it on your child?
- Spend some time with your child at the library. Sometimes going old school is a good idea. It makes children realize what they have.
5. Be supportive
Consistency is very hard to achieve. Ask yourself if you were ever a consistently good in everything. Not many people are.
The fact of the matter is, you child already faces so much pressure from different areas. Even the most composed, emotionally- stable children have limits. There will be days that he will not be up to study for some reason or another. Here are tips that you can use to get him back on track:
- Allow him to step back and give some space.
- Set him aside and talk; find out how he feels and what his thoughts are.
- Change your approach; if he is spending too much time on text books, shift to video instruction. Or visit the library.
- Go someplace and relax.
Study time need not be stressful for parent or child. Keep in mind that both parent and child have a shared interest. Of course, that is for the child to perform well in school. Thus, the key is to reconcile the differences and work together for the common good.