Helping your children develop good study habits

Possibilities include the child's room or the kitchen or dining room table. Eliminate as much distraction as possible. Most children's desks aren't big enough to spread out materials. A table with enough space for all their equipment works better.

Turn off the TV set

Make it a house rule that when it's homework time the TV is switched off.

Music and radio?

Some children function well with their favourite music playing through their earphones. Others will find this distracting.

Phone calls

Insist on mobiles being switched off at homework time!

Put up a bulletin board in your child's room

A piece of wallboard is inexpensive, yet provides a perfect place on which to pin or hang important school/stationery items.

Check that they have everything they need

Including paper, highlighters, colouring pens, note pads, dictionary, thesaurus etc.

Be consistent

Keep Homework to a regular time. Try to ensure that supper is served at the same time every week day.

Working time

Consider your child's developmental stage when setting the amount of time for homework. Young children have short attention spans. Encourage your child to take breaks, perhaps after each section of the work.

Don't overdo it!

Watch for signs of frustration. No learning can take place when children are angry or upset over an assignment that is too long or too difficult. When this occurs parents should step in and simply halt the homework for that night, offering to write a note to the teacher explaining the situation and perhaps requesting a meeting.

How much should you help?

Parents can help by clarifying the task, or asking questions to aid the thought process. However you shouldn't interfere if it is something the children can clearly handle themselves. Spot check maths answers while your child is working to make sure s/he is going in the right direction. Help and support should always be calmly and willingly given. Grudging help is worse than no help at all!

Encourage, encourage, encourage!

Make positive comments - you want your child to have a positive attitude to learning.

Teach your child that learning outside school is more than homework
Encourage your child to be inquisitive, ask questions, read widely, watch the news, and research on the internet. Take your family on visits to places connected with what is being learned at school, and broaden your children's understanding by adding your knowledge and experiences.

Model research skills

Involve your child in planning family trips. Plan the route using a map. Find information about the place you are going to, using the internet or the library.