All too often, convincing a student to study can result in tears and frustration - for the parent and student alike. While it’s common for most students to, at times, be frustrated with the learning process, there are a number of things parents can do to negate studying woes. Here are a few tips and tricks to help your student succeed.
1. Ditch the Phone
Studies show that merely having a phone in the same room as a student who is learning or studying can result in lower grades and distraction. Even when students put their phones on silent, the simple knowledge that they may or may not be getting snaps, texts, or other notifications is enough to derail a study or homework session.
Tip: Put the phone in a different room and keep it on silent until study time is finished.
2. Space Out Study Sessions
This article from Psychology Today confirms what teachers and parents have know for years: a single, short-term cram session offers next to no retention of knowledge. Instead, research studies prove that it is more effective to mix different concepts while learning, to study information in its entirety, and to study at regular intervals over days or weeks.
Tip: Set aside a dedicated study time (not homework time) for each subject, and study material frequently.
3. Turn the Material Into a Game
Once of the greatest hindrances to study is that students find it, well, boring. Once easy solution is to turn study material into a game. Younger students might enjoy practicing spelling words with this game template, while older students might like playing a Kahoot. All you need is a dice piece for the game or a computer for a Kahoot!
Tip: Break up a study session with strategic, information-based games.
4. Rewrite Notes, Especially in Color
While it may seem useless, rewriting notes (especially those typed on a tablet or computer) will increase retention of material. The human brain, for reasons that researchers don’t fully understand, is empirically proven to retain information that is handwritten at a higher percentage than information that is typed. However, in order to facilitate the greatest retention of information, coloring, color coding, or simply drawing notes will further improve information retention. According to the US National Library of Medicine, “The role played by colour in enhancing our attention level is undisputable […] The more attention focused on certain stimuli, the more chances of the stimuli to be transferred to a more permanent memory storage.”
Tip: Break out the colored pencils and rewrite notes with a color-coded strategy.
5. Remove the Pressure
High-achieving students often put a tremendous amount of pressure on themselves and can be afraid of failure. However, this pressure can actually decrease academic success, not to mention adversely affect mental health. As a parent, remember to help your student navigate the line between motivation and obsession. After a long evening of studying, suggest a family movie night or take a walk around the neighborhood. Doing so may decrease the stress your student is feeling and will result in some all-important parent/child bonding time.
Tip: Know when to end the study session and to reassure your student.