Helping kids develop effective study habits


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The right study habits can make learning easier, improve marks, and generally make school life (and home life) more pleasant.

Although it is never too late to begin, the very best time to help your child acquire good study habits is before he or she really needs them. A child who discovers the joy of learning early will never find schoolwork quite as tedious as the student who is forced into learning at home because the school demands it.

Introduce study habits at a young age

  • Before your child reaches the homework years, begin to set aside a quiet area and time every afternoon or evening for reading, drawing and other learning opportunities that can be fun for your child and will encourage their skill development without pressure.
  • Organize the area with the proper tools – pens, pencils, rulers, erasers etc.
  • Read with your child. Children enjoy this time with you and it associates learning with being fun and interesting.
  • Remind your child that he or she will soon be learning about these things in school.
  • Talk about school positively.

Establish smart homework habits

  • When your child begins to receive regular homework, establish a consistent routine and environment for doing homework.
  • Be firm and consistent about homework rules. For example, if you decide that there’s no TV or phone calls/texting until homework is completed, stick with it!
  • Be supportive and encourage your child. Bring him/her a healthy snack when he or she is studying.
  • Help your child get organized: i) Encourage your child to use a notebook for taking notes in class. Notes are less likely to be lost if they are kept in one place; ii) Keep homework supplies organized in a shoebox or plastic container. Make sure there are plenty of spare pens, pencils and paper on hand when needed.
  • Encourage your child to talk about his or her homework and other school issues.

Studying for exams

  • When your child receives his or her exam schedule, help to write out a study schedule around it. Be sure time is allotted for frequent breaks.
  • Encourage your child to use a small hardback notebook for exam notes.
  • Some children find that blank postcards or cue cards can be useful for writing down key facts for testing purposes.
  • Help to test your child on what he or she has learned. Some children also find it is useful to get together with a friend to test each other.
  • Try to ensure that your child has a good, high-protein breakfast before a morning exam. If your child resists, remind him or her that the brain needs good nutrition.

Special notes for teenagers

  • When you discuss school with your teenager, do it at a time when there are no other distractions and listen for their concerns. When they feel comfortable and not judged, many teens want to discuss their worries about school, wondering how they will catch up or fit in or why they can’t manage their homework. If they fear that voicing their concerns will upset you or result in a lecture, they won’t open up as easily.
  • Many teenagers have problems coping with the new challenge of multiple major assignments due each term, rather than nightly prescribed homework. Help your teenager organize and prioritize these assignments in advance. Buy a calendar and help them to organize a schedule, starting with the due date and working backwards with a realistic schedule.
  • Seek input from your child’s teachers for what your child’s learning strengths and needs are.
  • Be careful that your teen’s schedule is not over-packed with part-time employment or extracurricular activities.
  • Each child can be different and will manage best with the balance that is right for them.
  • Reinforce the value of good eating and sleeping habits to help the brain function at its best.

For more information on developing healthy study habits, call 1 866 833-7690 or visit

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