How to Help Your Child Study Successfully

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Fill in the blank. Multiple choice. True or false. Short answer. Matching. Essay.

Your child will take hundreds (if not thousands) of quizzes, tests and exams during their school career. As a parent, you desire for your child will be a successful student. You long to see all high scores on their report card. You hope to see them mature in knowledge and understanding. And you pray that they enjoy school and thrive in that environment.

Makes those dreams into reality by implementing efficient and effective study habits in your home. These tips will help your child study well, ensuring that their body and mind are prepared to focus, and that they will actually remember what they spend their mental energy on.

Before studying…

Fill their belly up at breakfast

Mama, you’ve heard it before: breakfast may be the most important meal of the day! Research studies show that kids who eat breakfast academically perform better than those who don’t. Actually, your child’s grades will show improvement with a well-rounded breakfast, especially in the subject of mathematics.

A balanced breakfast includes a combination of carbohydrates, fiber and protein. Those nutrients boost your kids brain power and keeps their little stomachs full for a longer duration.

Healthy carbs and fiber can be found in:

  • Oatmeal
  • cereal (preferable the types not filled with sugar)
  • And whole grain breads/bagels/muffins.

Protein-rich foods keep energy levels sustained, like:

  • Greek yogurt
  • Meat
  • and eggs.

Fruit is always a fantastic option! The more colorful, the more nutritious! This is also a fun method to see if your child can eat the rainbow of colors everyday – like ROYGBIV.

  • Apples (red)
  • Oranges (orange)
  • Bananas (yellow)
  • Kiwi (green)
  • Blueberries (blue/violet)

Don’t forget about starting your child’s day with hydration! Aim for your child to consume enough fluids equivalent to half of their body weight in ounces.

  • Milk – any kind
  • Orange juice
  • Cranberry juice
  • Water
  • Hot tea (decaffeinated)

Snacks

We all know how difficult it is to concentrate when we’re hangry. Fuel your little ones belly before studying with a good snack. Usually this means coming home from school, washing hands, and digging in to an afternoon refreshment!

  • Fruit smoothies are an excellent choice because the berries are rich in antioxidants, which boost brain power and memory. Plus the yogurt satisfies a hungry stomach while the milk/juice is hydrating.
  • Dark chocolate improves memory and increases alertness due to increased blood flow to the brain.
  • Try apples spread with peanut butter to combine fruit with a nutty protein.

Create The Space

Now that we’ve recovered from our hangry-ness, it’s almost time to help your kids study. Remove the distractions from the environment. This means turning off the television, radio, tablets, cell phones, and any other type of electronic device that is a distraction.

Next, create a work space. This could be a desk, the kitchen table, or the living room floor. Somewhere with room to move and set all of the items needed to study.

Help your student create a plan: what need to be accomplished tonight. If there are multiple assignments, assign an order to them. I often find it works best to alternate based on brain power: first do something that is more analytical like studying or completing a worksheet, then I do something creative such as a poster project or a creative writing assignment.

Sit down with your child as necessary to help complete the assignments. For young children, you will likely need to direct them and guide them through the necessary means of studying. For older children, encourage them to make and carry out their study plans. Simply check on them every so often and assist when needed.

While studying…

Number 2 Pencil

Technology is fascinating. Surely your kids are addicted to their gadgets. But don’t forget about the old-fashioned principle of writing. Scientists have noticed that writing out information helps you remember the material better than typing it. Grab your fancy pencils, colorful pens, or dry erase markers to help your child study.

Active Learning

We all remember how boring school work can be. Engage your child to be an active learner and studier. This technique combines creativity and communication to help kids remember information more easily. Bonus: active learning makes it easier to retrieve details later.

  • Make up silly rhymes to remember facts or dates from history.
  • Learn spelling words with made up songs (such as “BINGO”).
  • Create acronyms to learn the steps of a mathematical equation or the scientific method. (Remember PEMDAS – Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally. This is the acronym for the mathematical order of operations – Parentheses, Exponents, Multiply, Divide, Add, Subtract.)
  • Use flash cards. Different color note cards combined with multiple colors of markers/pens/pencils are good at jogging your memory.
  • Stories are powerful! Use a story to remember facts about science or literature. (Go all silly for this one. The poet befriends a teddy bear who lives in the jungle and together they dream about life in heaven… It doesn’t have to make sense, it just needs to be memorable.)
  • Draw venn diagrams to visually separate and align details through comparison and contrast.
  • Use charts or graphs to depict concepts like a timeline of events or the water cycle.
  • Ask your child thoughtful questions. Who, what, when, where and why are great places to start.
  • Discuss the theme, how the subject relates to life in general, or how it parallels other subjects.
  • This one is of the utmost importance: How does this information apply to life? Teach your children that studying is about more than memorizing details!

Study Breaks

During homework time, your child probably needs a break as much as you do! Schedule a break between assignments or set a timer. Do something active during your break to get the blood flowing and energy swirling. Physical fitness is known to boost test scores and lift your mood.

  • Take a walk.
  • Ride your bike.
  • Jump on the trampoline.
  • Shoot basketball.
  • Play catch.
  • Get on the Wii.

After studying…

Sleep

A good night of rests is like a bow around a bouquet of flowers: it ties the package together. A solid night of rest after studying may help your kids brain remember all of the information they just learned.

Don’t forget the goal

Remind your child to imagine life after he/she earns that high grade! Envisioning yourself earning a good score will boost your kid’s confidence and improve their grade at the same time.

Review repeatedly

Study with your child. Review the material, verbally quiz them, offer a practice test, or have your child teach you the information. Doing this the night before or morning of an exam is especially effective. Plus, Mama, you’ll get a review of what you learned long ago in class!

Discuss what it’s like to take the test

Talk with your student about what to expect during the exam. Share practical test-taking tips such as the process of elimination for multiple choice questions or skipping a tough question until the end.

Encourage your little ones!

Mama, you are proud of your child’s hard work and study time! Don’t forget that a simple compliment or word of encouragement will stick with your child throughout the day.

After The Exam

Whew, it’s over! No matter the score, talk with your child about their test. Remind them of their efforts and study habits. Tell them that you’re proud. Encourage them to continue trying their best.

Be patient with them and remember that learning is a process. Your encouragement, intentional attention, and positive affirmation will boost your child’s confidence!

Resources

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