When the weather still seems like summer, youngsters often find it hard to get back into the habit of studying. Parents can play a key role in helping students develop good habits now.
It's tempting to keep putting things off until dark or until after the last ball game, but by then it may be bedtime for younger children. And while due dates for term papers and midterm exams seem a long way off, it's important for students to develop good study habits early in the school year.
Parental attitudes and behavior go a long way toward helping children understand the importance of education. Yelling at a child to finish homework while the television is going full blast sends conflicting signals.
Young children, especially, are great imitators and like to do whatever the grownups are doing. If possible, try to set aside a specific time each day for quiet time – a time when everyone in the family can be involved in studying, reading or other quiet activities.
Even when there is no homework assignment, students can use the time to review, read, write letters or so forth. Once quiet time becomes a habit, friends learn not to call then, and there are fewer distractions from other family activities.
Parents also can help students by providing a place conducive to studying.
The kitchen table is a popular spot in many families because it also provides a sense of family togetherness. However, others prefer desks or tables in their bedrooms. If the location is used for other activities, find a spot to keep school supplies. For example, rulers, pencils, erasers, protractors, a dictionary and other supplies can be kept on a kitchen shelf for use at the kitchen table after the supper plates are removed. That way you don't waste study time sharpening pencils and looking for supplies.
Parents usually begin to look forward to the quiet time, because it is a chance to read the paper, pay bills or catch up on correspondence. It also may be a good time to read a story with a young child or share a good book with an older one.
Busy schedules and heavy demands on time make it difficult for families to set aside a quiet time for study, so each family should have a plan that works for its situation.
Helping children develop good study habits can be rewarding for the whole family.
For more information on family coping strategies, contact Kim Evans, Extension Agent.
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