How to Help Your Child Develop Good Study Habits

Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 28, 2021

Whether your child is in kindergarten or heading off to college, you want to make sure they have the skills to succeed in school. You might not understand the latest way schools are teaching math, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help your child set up good study habits.

The most important thing for any parent or caregiver to do is be interested in and supportive of your student’s schoolwork. Teach them that schoolwork is a priority and they should take it seriously. Talk to them about what they are learning and what work they need to do at home. Many schools offer online portals so that parents can keep up with assignments and communications from the school. You can always ask your child’s teacher questions as well. 

Once you have a sense of what your child needs to do, you can decide together what will help them do their best work.

Learn more about some ways you can help your child do well in school.

Make Plans for Homework

Thinking about homework before it’s time to do it is an excellent way to make sure your student has everything they need to get to work. You can shop for the right school supplies to have at home and make sure kids know any passwords they need to get to online resources. You can also prepare your house to be a study-friendly environment. 

Make a study space. Setting up a comfortable, quiet space for homework is very helpful. Moving into the “homework spot” is a good mental transition into study time. You can keep school supplies like pens and notebooks right there so your student never has to hunt for them. Make sure the space is near an electrical outlet for charging laptops.

Set a schedule. Set a specific time for homework every day. Blocking out homework time will help you or your child remember not to make plans that get in the way of studying. You might need to vary the homework time to work around sports or other after-school activities, but knowing there is time set aside every day for schoolwork helps kids remember to do their work.

Plan ahead for studying. Rather than dumping their books on the desk and diving in, your student should plan their study schedule. You can help them go over deadlines and project guidelines. Together you can figure out how much time a student should spend on each subject in order to get everything done on time.

Keep Your Child Focused

Students may not need hours of complete silence to get their work done, but you should try to help keep them focused on their work. Making sure they don’t get overwhelmed will also help them stay on track. 

Limit distractions. During homework time, you should turn off the tv and silence all phones. Ask other family members to stop playing video games or other activities that might tempt your student. If you like, you can encourage everyone to use homework time as a time to do quiet activities such as reading. You can even set a good example and use the time to do work yourself.

Schedule in breaks. Research shows that taking short breaks helps students stay energized and focused. Experts don't recommend using breaks to check social media, however. If your student wants study breaks, they might be better off making themselves a snack or moving around for a little while.

Take Care of Their Bodies As Well As Their Minds

Tired kids have a more challenging time doing school work. Scientists have found that students who regularly get enough sleep have better grades than kids who don’t sleep enough or have inconsistent sleep habits. Making sure your student goes to bed at a reasonable hour on weeknights will give them a boost when it comes to schoolwork.

A nutritious diet will also help your student do better in school. A good breakfast can get a student started on the right foot before school, and lunch will help them power through the rest of the day. If your student needs a snack during study sessions, try some nuts, chocolate, or berries. They have all been shown to help with memory over the long term.

If you have major concerns about your child’s schoolwork, you can always talk to their teacher or guidance counselor. The staff and faculty at school can help you find ways to improve your child’s school experience. 

Show Sources


Education Corner: “10 Habits of Highly Effective Students.”

Healthy SD: “Brain Foods that May Help You Concentrate.”

Kids Health: “Six Steps to Smarter Studying.”

St. Petersburg College: “The Science of Study Breaks.”

U.S. Department of Education: “The Basics -- Helping Your Child Succeed in School.”

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