Back To School Study Habit Tips


Are you in the midst of battling homework and setting up expectations for the school year?   It can be rough, especially if you have a child who is dead set on trying to make his own path and go against all your rules.  I talk in detail about homework, setting up a homework station and more in my Back 2 School Survival Guide and wanted to share a few ideas for those who might just be experiencing some frustration right about now!

When we were kids, if we didn’t do our homework there were severe consequences.  I can remember being grounded so many times – do kids even get grounded anymore?  Today, with TV, video games, sports and other distractions available for kids to put off studying and completing homework assignments it is even more important to encourage and expect strong study habits at the beginning of the school year.  When you take the time early to set up those expectations and consistency, it will pay off.

I think I got off pretty lucky with my kids, we never really had any huge battles over homework.  I am a firm believer that at a certain point you have to allow your kids to fail and eventually they have to take 100% responsibility for their grades.  Each child is different, each family situation is different, but in the years of coaching and working with mom’s who are out of ideas to “get their kids” to do their homework, I’ve come up with some true tested solutions and practical tips to get your kids on the right track!

Designate an area or room where your child has a desk and chair

This may be a dining room area with lots of table space, their own room or a home office area.  Giving a designated space to your child sets an expectation – it works well if it is in an area that makes it easy for you to keep track of their progress too.

Ensure there is no TV, iPods, or other distractions in the room

This is a general rule, but if you have a child who can tolerate listening to music while studying and doing homework, then allow him to do so, as long as his grades reflect that he is doing his best.  For the most part it is better to keep things quiet, but I do feel that times are changing for our kids, the times of needing quiet to work is not generally the norm.  Be open to discuss options in this area with your child depending on their age.

Determine when homework should begin

If the child wishes to begin homework assignments upon arriving home, have a snack available for them until dinnertime
If the homework is not completed by then, they can continue after dinner, but only up to a certain time.  When my children were younger I set the time that homework would be started, generally after school.  As their school success and our family dynamic changed, so did the time they did homework.  Ideally, you want to get to a point where your child is making the determination about when to start their homework.  This allows them to use time management skills, helps them make their own decisions and solve problems for choices they’ve made.

Towards middle school you should be transitioning your child to choosing their own time to do their homework.  Know for certain they will choose a time later than they should have on more than one occasion – but rest knowing that having to stay up late to finish it or get up earlier in the morning will teach them a lot more about themselves, their choices and what happens when they make a bad choice.

Taking Breaks

For younger children taking ten minutes breaks in between homework assignments can alleviate them becoming too tired to continue.  Perhaps your child need to get up and get some movement in or simple stretch, these are all good ways to take a break.

Offer Your Assistance

If your child has a problem with a subject area, it is recommended that you offer assistance but not to engage in completing any homework assignment.  It can be easy as a parent to jump in and want to do the work for them, especially if your child is dead set against doing what they can and focusing on trying to understand it.  You are doing a disservice if you complete the homework for your child.

Whether your child attends elementary, middle, or high school, having the tools to achieve success begins with a set of expectations and consequences which can help your child mold and maintain good study habits.


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