Just because you’ve put your school years behind you doesn’t mean you’re done with homework, book reports, and studying for finals. NYU’s Child Study Center reports that kids whose parents are involved with their academics do well in many different areas, including attendance, academics, and behaviorally. Here are eight tips to ensure that family time + study time = success! Family study habits can be instilled to help your student.
1. MAKE STUDY TIME FUN…
It’s 3:45 and your kids are just getting home from school. Digging into homework first thing may not be what they have in mind, and who can blame them? You want them to take a breather before settling in to study, but not to the point where their work falls by the wayside and they end up hitting the books at 10pm. Have a snack ready for when they get home—something homemade if you’re feeling ambitious, or some prepared, nutritious snacks like hummus and whole-grain bread. Start study time by chatting over a bite to eat so that your overcommitted kid can decompress before homework takes over.
2. … BUT TAKE IT SERIOUSLY
Talking about the day before settling in to study is one thing. Setting a scene that’s more for cutting loose than it is for cracking the books is another. You want your children to feel positive and energetic when it comes to their schoolwork, but blasting music or the television (or permitting socializing on Facebook or email during study time) is not going to result in good work habits, nor will it help your kids concentrate on the real task at hand.
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3. SET A ROUTINE (AND STICK TO IT!)
If you’re committed to investing time in your kids’ school work, there’s no better way to start than by setting a good example when it comes to work habits. Make a time to designate as “Family Study Time,” whether it’s right after school or as soon as the dinner plates are cleared away. Then, make sure to stick to that routine.
4. KNOW YOUR STUFF
Has it been awhile since you explored the wonderful word of algebra? Are you a little fuzzy on the 50 states? It’s understandable if you’re feeling daunted by the topics that make up your kid’s workload; after all, it has been a few (!) years since you were in school. Brush up on your scholarly knowledge by taking an in-depth look at your kids’ textbooks, finding apps that can help you out, and exploring other educational resources.
5. GET TO KNOW THE TEACHER(S)
You don’t have to wait until the next PTA meeting to get to know your kids’ teachers. Make time (whether it’s a few minutes before school starts, or when you come to pick your child up) to introduce yourself. Letting instructors know that you intend to be involved is a great way to connect; making that connection can help ensure assistance down the road if you have questions about the curriculum or if your kid encounters any problems.
6. CREATE A SPACE
Whether you live in a cramped apartment or a more spacious abode, try and designate a work-space where the family can focus on homework and other school-related projects. Create an area that’s free of distractions (no television!) and holds the necessary tools for your child’s scholarly success, whether it’s a full cup of pens and pencils, a bookshelf that’s just for textbooks, or a map of the world.
7. MAKE A TO-DO BOARD
A key component of the family’s workspace should be a larger version of a to-do list—posted up where everyone can see it—whether it’s a corkboard, dry-erase board, or a giant piece of paper. That’s the place where you can pin up a reminder about that book report that’s due after Christmas break, or the newspaper clippings your kid needs to be collecting every Sunday. And visually breaking down the workload will help make assignments feel more manageable.
8. STAY POSITIVE
You’re committed to helping your child with his or her schoolwork, and you’re determined to see that commitment through by brushing up on your math skills and making time to sit down each day and hit the books. But your attitude is just as important as your academic know-how. You may have had a negative school experience, and it’s okay to talk about that with your child. But griping about how much you hated school or how poorly you did isn’t the best way to bond. You can set a good example for your child by being positive, organized, and committed to doing schoolwork as a family.
Editor’s Note: This article is one in a series presented in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month and designed to help parents prepare to send their kids off to college, brought to you by www.colgate.com/hazlau.