5 ways to instil study habits
Positive habits make life easier. When a habit is engrained, it becomes second nature, and we make it a priority without having to motivate ourselves to complete a task. Establishing good habits early in life sets us up for success down the track, and is a skill that can be applied in all areas of life. Children are influenced by what they see around them, and what is normalised in their lives, so when parents, teachers and mentors model positive habits, children will follow their lead. Good habits are beneficial in all aspects of life, from what we habitually eat, to how active we are, and how we spend our time. Instilling positive study habits in children is important for their academic development and helps shape them into active learners. Read on to discover 5 ways to instil study habits in young learners.
1. Remove distractions
Distractions are the natural nemesis of good habits, and seem to crop up whenever we need to focus on something important. When your child is trying to build strong study habits, help set them up for success by removing distractions. Once you have agreed on a dedicated study/homework time for your child, the next step is to create a distraction-free study space. If your child’s study space is in a shared living area, make the room as neutral as possible, by turning off the TV, removing screens and devices from the room, ensuring the space is well lit, and that they have everything they need at their workstation. Preparation is key, especially when there is limited time dedicated to study and homework each day. Make sure your child has had a snack and glass of water before starting, so they aren’t distracted by a rumbling tummy. The process of preparing to study, sitting down each day to complete their work, and sticking to the allocated time frame will help your child build numerous positive habits, which will support them on their learning journey.
2. Make learning fun
It’s easy to get children on-board with study when it’s fun! There are plenty of ways to make learning enjoyable, regardless of school level. Get creative with hands-on learning, like creating science experiments at home, or working on art projects. To inspire a greater interest in new subjects, consider a trip to the museum or art gallery, or if possible, travel to visit historical sites and cultural landmarks. Seeing artifacts and famous artwork may inspire a deep interest in the subjects, which is a natural motivator to study and keep learning.
For younger children, try gamifying spelling or times table practise. You can do this by awarding points for every correct spelling word or times table, and then presenting a prize when a certain number of points is reached. This can help reluctant spellers to study and strive to commit their spelling words to memory. Try it with older students with cue card questions and answers if they are prepping for a test or exam. If your child needs extra support or extension, a fun learning environment can help! Get in touch with your local NumberWorks’nWords centre to discuss after school tuition in English or maths.
3. Use a when-then routine
Study and homework time becomes seamless when it is built into your family’s daily routine. The when-then routine is an easy way to encourage positive habits around studying, homework and school projects. It works by letting your child know that when their homework is complete, then they can play on the iPad/Playstation/trampoline, or when they have practised their spelling words, then they can visit their friend next door. Setting the afternoon routine in this way prevents homework from being forgotten, and ensures it is completed before other distractions set in. Another benefit of the when-then routine, is that it will motivate your child to be proactive in working on their homework, which means less encouragement by the parent is needed, as they are motivated to get their homework done and move on to the next part of their afternoon.
Routines are useful for children, as they help them know what to expect. Making homework part of your child’s daily routine will encourage them to take ownership of their after school responsibilities and instil good study habits.
4. Set goals to use as motivation
When we set goals, we are motivated to achieve them through focused attention and consistent effort. For this reason, setting goals is a useful tool to build habits for children. To support young learners as they establish strong study habits, it can be beneficial to set goals. With an overarching goal guiding them, their motivation to study and invest time in their school work will improve. Goal setting can be useful for small and large ambitions, such as passing every spelling test of the year, mastering times tables, or getting an end of year award for academic achievement. When a goal has been set, have your child write it down and display it somewhere where they will see it each day. If their commitment to study wanes overtime, remind them of the goal they set to keep them accountable. This blog outlines strategies to keep kids motivated, which is essential to form good study habits.
5. Plan study time
Planning how we spend our time, and managing it accordingly, are useful skills to cultivate early in life. Help your child to develop time management skills, by planning study time and keeping them accountable. To get started, consider using a weekly planner to block out time for studying specific topics and practising skills. The planner might look like focusing on a different task every afternoon, or studying different subjects each day for older students. Dedicating time each day for study and homework will become second nature with practise, and can foster strong planning and time management skills. If your child struggles to stay on task, or gets distracted and doesn’t complete their work during the allocated study time, you can introduce visual timers so they can see the amount of time that has passed and how much longer they have to work on their task. This will help motivate them to complete their work so they can move onto the next part of the evening.
Forming strong study habits is a valuable skill for every child to learn. To achieve the best academic outcomes for your child, help them instil study habits that will support their learning goals. If your child needs support with their learning, or is eager for extension, get in touch with your local NumberWorks’nWords centre. Our tuition model combines positive role modelling and fun with learning, in a nurturing environment that brings out confidence in students. Get in touch to learn more about English and maths tuition today!