Building Good Study Habits.

As a parent, you can help your child to build good study habits.  Many children find studying to be an overwhelming challenge.  The key to a successful school career is developing a study system that works effectively and consistently. If your child is struggling to study or prepare for exams, it is necessary to test for concentration in order to differentiate between a studying problem and a concentration problem. These need to be handled differently.

Understanding Your Child’s Study And Exam Prep Challenges

What are the thoughts that go through your mind when you think of the upcoming examinations?  Are they stress, hard work and fights and tears?  These are common problems faced by most families during examination times.  Children often have little motivation to study and often parents cannot find it in themselves to motivate their children to do so.

We have found that many children do not even know where to start, when preparing for exams.  When asked the question “how do you study for exams?” most children will answer “I read through my work for hours on end and then my mom asks me questions.”  Unfortunately, this method does not work for all children.  It is important for your child to figure out how they learn best and then work out a study system that incorporates this style which will certainly help to develop better study skills and prepare for examinations.

Preferred Learning Styles

You will find that children often present the following learning styles:

  • Hear: Auditory Learning Style
  • See: Visual Learning Style
  • Touch: Tactile / Kinaesthetic Learning Style

1. Auditory learners: these learners study or learn by hearing.  A good idea for these learners is to have them read their work aloud.  Catchy songs and rhymes also help them to remember easier.
2. Visual learners: these learners study or learn by seeing.  Diagrams and colourful mind maps, wall charts and flash cards will help these learners to retain information.
3. Kinaesthetic learners: these learners need a hands-on approach.  Get them to write out notes, highlight key words and make their own mind maps.

Study Myths

  • Children have to study for long periods of time:  No!  A child’s concentration span is short.  Let your child study for 45 minutes and have a 10-minute break. 
  • No music while studying: Not entirely true!  Music with a slow beat can enhance concentration.  It is however, not a good idea to have loud, fast music playing, that your child will most likely sing along to.  Television is however a definite no.
  • Studying in a bedroom is counterproductive: This is mostly true.  Although not possible in all households, try to find an alternative place for your child to study.  The brain is a marvellous organ and will soon make the association that the bedroom is a place for work.  Your child’s bedroom should be a place of relaxation!  Wherever your child studies; ensure that there is a desk and comfortable chair with all the necessary books and stationery available.

Below are a few tips on how to help your child develop good study skills and habits.

Draw Up A Study Planner

By setting up a five-day study programme, you can ensure that all work is covered and that children learn organisational skills and the same time.  This helps to avoid any potential last minute panic.  Find out about tests, projects, exams and assignments and write them up on a term planner so that nothing is overlooked or forgotten about.

Effective Study Methods

The right study methods will allow your child to store the learned information in a manner that makes it easy for them to access when required.  The brain stores information much like a computer and when the right keys or triggers are pressed, the information is retrieved / made available.  There are a number of study methods, but not all will work for your child – sometimes it’s best to try a combination of methods to find out what works best.  Different study methods include:

  • Reading with a purpose
  • Mind Maps
  • Acronyms
  • Word associations
  • The story technique
  • Number shape memory system.

If directed in the correct way, studying can be an opportunity for great success.  Help your child to set goals and ensure them of your support!

For more information on what your child’s learning style may be or for more tips to successful studying contact us on (011) 917 1230.