Any Advice on Instilling Good Study Habits in Kids?

Updated on August 20, 2008
J.H. asks from Folsom, CA
4 answers

My own parents were completely hands off when it came to my homework when I was a child. As a result, I don't know much about supervising my 2nd grader while she does her homework. After realizing that I was confusing my daughter by teaching her my own concepts which differs from what her teacher teaches in the classroom, I now plan on letting the teacher do the teaching. Now, I just make sure my daughter fills in the blanks, edits her own work, and places her work in her backpack. I'm also reading her chapter books (very time-consuming) after she reads them. Then, I ask her a bunch of reading comprehension questions. I'm not sure when she'll be able to do all this on her own (i.e. become self-sufficient without my supervision).

She's also doing her homework in the kitchen where her environment is very busy. She prefers it this way, but I remember doing my own homework alongside my sister in our shared, but quiet, bedroom. I figure it doesn't hurt either way, since I recall my college roommates studying in all sorts of loud places as well as quiet places.

Does anyone have any advice on establishing good foundational study habits?

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

More Answers



answers from Sacramento on

Hi J.~

I don't think I'll be adding anything new to this discussion, but rather just to reinforce the advice you've already been given. I have a 2nd grader and our schedule after school is: snack, homework, piano, play (or sports/dance), dinner, family time, bath, I read to her and then I let her stay up for an additional 30 minutes and read a chapter book of her choosing. The reading before bed started as a privilege... she gets to stay up past her bedtime and read like mommy. She still goes to bed by 8:30, but she thinks she's staying up later than normal.

We rarely deviate from this schedule. I get much less moaning about having to do work when it's just a part of her daily routine. I also have her do this at the breakfast bar. I do keep her sister from being too loud. I just didn't want her being in the habit of going in her room where I can't monitor what she's doing. And at some point she'll have to do plenty of homework on the computer, which will NEVER be in her room or any other place with privacy.

Glad to hear you are working on this now. I, too, never had any homework supervision and had horrible habits. Hopefully this will help!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Hi J.,

I am a middle school teacher and I am soooooo glad that you recognize the importance of establishing good study habbits now... by the time she gets to 7th grade, hopefully, these behaviors will truly be HABITS, and you won't have to do so much work then.

1) A place to study. While I understand your concern over the business of the kitchen... I would be equally concerned about unsupervised homework time as it is too easy for a young child to get off task in the privacy of her own room (remember... she is learning the self dicipline, but she doesn't have it yet!). Is it possible to institute family guidelines around homework time (ie keep the business/ conversations in some other room, only quiet activities in the kitchen during this time).

2) I think you are right to leave the teaching to the teachers, but if your daughter seems stuck, try referring to her textbooks or worksheets to see how it was presented in class and try to follow that as you explain.

3) Reading comprehension. What a good mom to read her books! However, if you try to keep this up, you will get burnt out and when you can't check her she may try to slide. YOu don't have to read the book to help her understand it. Instead of quizzing her with detail oriented questions... try simply asking her to talk about what she read. Have her praphrase the story (a much better indicator of understanding then simple recall). Then ask probing questions like "Why do you think he/she did that?" or "How might this have turned out differently if he had done _____ instead?" or "What would you have said to her if you had been there?" These kind of questions actually help students relate to and anyalyze what they read which develops a much higher level of thinking.

4) In terms of lasting study skills, you can help your daughter by having her make a list of tasks for the session (like 1)reading 2)Math p. 102 3)spelling words 5 times each). Have her check off each assignment as it's finished then review the list at the end to be sure every assignment was completed. This will help her develop those independant study skills you want to see in the middle grades.

Sorry this was so long. Hope it helps.


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

I'm a teacher and the advice I share is primarily around setting up a consistent routine. Come home, have a snack, get the homework done and then play. Obviously this doesn't work in all households due to parent and child schedules, but the main thing is to carve out a routine. It is difficult to try and help your child when they are being taught a skill differently because they don't want to do anything different than what the teacher asks. So, if she gets stuck, try open ended questions like, "were you able to do any of the problems/questions? can you show me how you did those like your teacher explained?" This may give you at least a clue at how the instruction is being broken down. Also, if there are any text books, they always have examples that for the majority of the year will match the teacher's instruction (occasionally we stray) so that should provide clues as well. Finally, make sure you look over your child's homework for any glaring errors that you can use to reteach the skill, and DO reteach that skill. Model and set up a system for good organization to bring materials and work to and from school. By doing these things you are showing that learning is a priority and work should be treated with pride. You certainly can read all her chapter books if you want, but if time becomes an issue, I would ask her to pick one of her favorites from the week prior, read it over the weekend and try and create some creative extended learning from it. Make puppets of the characters and have her act out the story-summarizing skills, draw a picture of her favorite scene, chose some vocabulary words as you read that you think might be unfamiliar to her and discuss them etc... Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

Hi J.,

I'm a 2nd grade teacher and I think it's great that you're working so hard to instill good study habits now. They are so important. I think the last 2 posts had a lot of great info. Here's something that I found a couple years ago and send home to my families about homework...

Guidelines for Helping With Homework So You Don’t Work Harder Than Your Child!
by Dr. Charles Fay

• Set aside a time each day for family learning.

Set aside at least 30 minutes devoted to “family brain cell development.”
During this time, there should be no TV, video games, computer games, etc. Model your own excitement for learning by reading a book, writing letters, etc. Your child may learn by doing their homework, reading about something they love, writing stories, etc.

• Help only when your child truly wants it.

Some parents make the mistake of forcing help upon their K.. This only creates frustration, anger, and K. who believe they can’t learn without their parents’ help.

• Help only when there’s an absence of anger or frustration.

When either you or your child gets frustrated or angry, learning becomes associated with frustration and anger.

• Help only when your child can describe what the teacher said.

This ensures that your child continues to believe that it’s important to pay attention to teachers. Unfortunately, some K. learn that it’s best to “tune-out” at school and let their parents do all of the teaching at home.

• Move away from your child before he/she “gets it.”

Some children believe they can only learn something, or “get it,” when an adult is in the same room…or is guiding them every inch of the way. To prevent this dependency, avoid falling into the habit of sitting at the table as your child does their homework, especially when they are on the brink of learning something new.

Never Work Harder Than Your Child!

You might also ask the teacher what she/he expects the parent's role to be with homework. Should the students be able to complete the assignment with little to no help from parents, or are parents expected to sit down and work through the assignment with the child?

I'd be happy to try and answer any questions if you want to e-mail me.


1 mom found this helpful
For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions

Related Searches