While a child's worth should never be tied to their grades and they need to know it, it's always helpful to strive to excel. Grades are often used to help determine scholarship and sports eligibility, and achieving higher scores can help increase knowledge, improve confidence and teach students the kind of skills they need while attending college, a trade school or even working in various fields.
Parents can help their children improve their study habits and achieve higher grades with several different tactics. With the new school year upon us, it's a great time to set up some healthy habits to encourage kids to get better grades at school.
10 Promote Healthy Eating
A hungry mind isn't one that's open to learning. It's hard to focus when you're hungry, especially if you're a growing child or teenager. Ensure that your child has healthy snacks available and eats well according to their nutritional needs. Eating healthy foods and staying physically active can do wonders for their focus and energy levels, which can help lead to better grades.
Eating well and working out alone will not create perfect test scores, but it is entirely possible that, for many hungry kids, an empty belly is the only thing holding them back from focusing and retaining information.
9 Promote Healthy Sleep Habits
While many of us tend to treat sleep as if it were overrated, sleeping is just as important to health as diet and exercise. Lack of sleep can hinder development, while sufficient sleep maintains good energy levels and focus for many children and teens. While the amount of sleep varies by individual, a good rule to follow is that toddlers and babies aged 2 and under require 11 to 14 hours of sleep every 24 hours, including naps, while kids ages 3 to 5 need 10 to 13 hours.
Children ages 6 through 12 need 9 to 12 hours of sleep each night, and teens, who are often sleep-deprived due to their circadian rhythms making it difficult to fall asleep before 11 PM, still need 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night for optimal health.
8 Teach Helpful Study Habits
Many kids are never even taught how to study, then they are expected to just hit the ground running. While they should definitely use study tools and methods that work best for them, it helps to give them some advice.
Demonstrate good note-taking skills to your kids. Make sure they have a quiet, comfortable, well-lit place to study and do homework. Show them how you study, and if you don't know how yourself, get some reading material about good study habits at the library or online. Ask the librarian for some recommendations. See if your older kid or teen would like to study with a partner or study group.
7 Use Fun Study Tools
Good, fun study tools can make all the difference. A pack of highlighters in various colors is great for taking notes while reading, as are sticky notes shaped like animals, fruit or other fun shapes. Color-coded page tabs can make studying much easier, as can color-coded index cards, flip pads, notebooks and other tools. Different colored inks can help outline the flow of information, and a great pencil sharpener and eraser are musts for math.
Some students work better with spiral bound notes, while others like loose leaf paper, bound notes in a pronged folder or notes bound in a binder. Experiment with what works best for your learner.
6 Help Them Stay Organized
Like studying, organization isn't often a skill that is taught to many children and teens, especially when it comes to managing their own homework assignments, assigned reading and other projects. Some grades come down to students simply not remembering to hand in homework!
Help your learners stay organized by teaching good habits. Place items in folders as soon as they have them and make a ritual of going through the folder each night until it's a habit for the learner. Get a student planner and teach your child how to write down assignments, pages to be read and other information, as well as due dates. Create a spot in the home just for homework materials, so they are always handy.
5 Have Them Teach You
One of the best ways to learn something is to share what you already know with someone else. Encourage your learner to teach you while preparing for tests and quizzes. They could put on a skit, act out a historical scene or otherwise make it fun according to their own personality. If they like comic books, they could draw it out in a comic panel.
Have their notes in front of you so you can ask questions that pertain to the material they need to know. This will help them connect with the material and ensure you cover everything on the test while keeping it fun for you both.
4 Help Your Child Study
While your ultimate goal is independent studying and learning, to get there you will need to help your child study physically. What this looks like will vary depending on your child's needs, age and skill set. Offer to quiz them on their spelling or vocabulary words. Give them practice tests as if you are the teacher and mark the tests so they can pinpoint which areas they need to focus on more closely.
Give oral quizzes over information in the car, in line at the store or while cooking dinner, giving them a chance to not only recall information but to explain it and connect with it as they share it with you.
3 Get A Tutor
Sometimes a subject is just beyond our help, whether it's taught in a new way, it features information we never learned ourselves or it's a subject that's more advanced than we learned at school. There is absolutely no shame in hiring a tutor to help your child learn the material outside of class. In fact, it can pay dividends!
Many schools offer free tutoring you can take advantage of after school or during study hour periods. You could also ask a local college if there are any students available to tutor in the subject, who might want to make some money while gaining experience in their field.
2 Ask For Help From The Instructor
Your child's teacher may know exactly what could help them perform better in class. Maybe they are often distracted in the class, or they often forget their assignments. There may be certain tips and tricks the instructor knows that work for students with your student's same problems, or they may know of opportunities they can use for deeper learning and engagement, or even extra credit.
Encourage your learner to reach out to the instructor themselves independently, but if the situation calls for it, go ahead and ask about setting up a meeting or having a phone call to discuss ways to help your learner in class.
1 Learn Information In A New Way
Sometimes the old tried and true methods aren't enough, and it's fortunate that we live in a world where so many learning tools are at our fingertips. Check to see if there are videos on YouTube, Khan Academy or other online learning venues that describe the concept your child needs to learn in a new way.
Take your learner to a museum to learn more about a subject they just can't seem to get interested in; seeing artifacts or hearing stories up close might help them form better connections. Try creating a song parody about the information if your learner likes music. Try anything novel and new to help make the information stick.