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  • Writer's pictureAshley

Developing Good Study Habits in Elementary School

Updated: Dec 17, 2021

Most people don’t associate study habits with elementary school students. However, the earlier we begin teaching our kids skills for independence and academic success, the better off they will be as their assignments become larger and more difficult.

Start with the basics

When you begin, remember that helping your child develop good study habits means starting with the most basic of skills. These things do not come naturally to kids.

1. Time and Place

Identify a time and place each day for your child to empty their backpack and folders, complete homework, review skills, and practice their independence skills. This is a great time to talk to them about distractions and how to avoid them or what to do if they are becoming distracted.

I encourage almost all of my tutoring clients and their families to practice the Pomodoro Method or at least the beginning of it. The Pomodoro Method is a time management technique that gives you bursts of focused attention and then a short break. Help your child develop this method of working by asking them to set a timer for 20-25 minutes (you may need to work your way up to this). While the timer is running, they need to focus on their activity. When the timer goes off, they will need to get up and move their body for 5-10 minutes. If there is more work to be done, they return and repeat the pattern.

As they learn, it may be necessary to have a checklist or a visual reminder of the things they need to be working on during this time. As they get the hang of their responsibilities, this may not be as necessary.

2. Using a planner

Some teachers have classroom planners they require their students to complete daily in specific ways. If your child has this, I encourage you to contact their teacher so that you can be on the same page when it comes to working with the planner. If your child does not have a planner, purchase one like this and teach them how to use it daily.

More advanced skills

3. Break down assignments

Once your child is able to use the planner daily, it’s a great time to begin breaking down assignments. Help them to identify when an assignment is due and what steps they need to take in order to get it done. Then help them to reverse engineer.

For example, your child brings home a book report assignment. First, find the due date and write that in the planner. Then, identify the different steps that need to be taken. This could include reading the book, writing a rough draft, getting editing assistance, and then completing a final draft. From there you can look at how much time is needed for each step and how much time there is before the due date. This determines what needs to be accomplished each week and if broken down further, each homework session.

4. Prioritizing

Your child will probably have homework or projects in more than one subject. This will give them practice with prioritizing activities. You may choose to teach them several different ways to prioritize. Of course, thinking about due dates is important but on a normal day, this will not be the deciding factor on what order to complete things in.

Sometimes children work best when they get the hardest thing out of the way first. However, other students enjoy getting easy things done and out of the way so they can focus all their energy on the tricky things. They may also want to prioritize what to do first based on any assistance offered from parents or siblings or tutoring sessions scheduled.

Each child will have their own best way to prioritize. Make sure that you allow your child the opportunity to experiment with different ways before deciding what works best for them.

Other good habits

5. Identify and use their strengths

Most people, child or adult, struggle to identify their strengths. When you help your child to list their strengths, you are helping them to work smarter, not harder.

6. Identity and work on weaknesses

Although it’s hard, helping your child to identify their weaknesses gives them the ability to work toward strengthening them and growing in multiple areas. Once weaknesses have been identified, students can brainstorm ways to grow in these areas and then move forward on making growth.

Could your child benefit from a private tutor? Some weaknesses could help you know if your child needs tutoring. Contact me today to see if Keep It Up Tutoring may benefit you.

It’s important to give our children the skills they need to be successful learners. Helping them learn basic study habits will give them a firm foundation for when the assignments become more difficult.

What habits did I miss? Let me know in the comments!


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