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It’s tough to juggle it all: work, family, and self-care. Parents want their children to succeed academically in school, but can’t always find the time and energy to help their kids become better students. The United States ranks 14th in education out of 34 countries, and that’s scary for working parents who want their child to get a quality education. So what are some good parenting skills for the busy work-parents? What can a parent do to supplement and help their kids succeed?
How to help your child study better
1. Find a reliable, go-to education app or website for help
Kids are always on their smartphones: watching YouTube videos, tweeting about trending topics, and Instagramming their every moment. According to CNN, teens spend 9 hours a day using media. Turn your kid’s enthusiasm for technology into a productive task. Install educational apps onto their phone and give them access to scholastic websites that make learning engaging.
There’s lot of free content online and educational apps, but it’s often a struggle to find expert, verifiable information on the Internet. Find one reliable website or app that can serve as the go-to resource for all your child’s learning needs. Once you find one site that provides reliable content and resources, make it your kid’s go-to source, so you can rest assured they are getting factual information.
When using a reliable app or mobile site on their smartphone, your child can study anywhere: while waiting with you as you run errands, on the way to their soccer practice, or during downtime on your family vacation. Anywhere you and your child go, they can log in to their app.
Online sites and apps also break longer lessons into tiny sessions, so your child can spread study time throughout the day and digest more content in smaller increments while on the go. It only takes a couple minutes for your kid to study fun, online content, play an educational game, take a lesson quiz, or complete a scholastic puzzle. This one of the parenting skills that help busy parents incorporate technology into learning.
Some popular websites have fun, short lessons that students love to watch on the go. For instance, Study.com’s short, fun animated videos give kids a chance to binge watch lessons created by subject experts—just like they would binge on Netflix. With over 35,000 video and text lessons on every subject for every grade level (K-12, college, and professional development), Study.com keeps learning entertaining.
All of their video lessons are animated and only 5-10 minutes long—perfect for short attention spans. Study.com also has study tools that let you track your child’s course progress and quiz results, so you know what topic your child needs to review.
2. Set goals & reward their progress.
Whether it’s getting an A on a test or passing a whole semester, it’s important to give your child clear goals. Set goals that you can measure and reward immediately. Track your child’s progress and make sure they get rewarded for accomplishing their educational goals. Schedule your goals on your family schedule.
This way you they will have deadline for their extra homework and academic tasks and you are aware of their progress without having to worry about helping them last minute. No more helping them at 3 AM with their volcano science project that is due the next day.
Make sure that after they accomplish a goal, you reward them. There are many ways to reward a child. If your child has a short attention span and has trouble focusing, try to manage their time by scheduling small breaks in between short, 20-minute study sessions. By giving breaks you are essentially rewarding their study efforts and give them a chance to digest what they’ve just learned.
By breaking lessons down into smaller increments, what may have seemed like a huge task is now less daunting. Rewarding your child with breaks also lets them know they are progressing and are moving towards finishing their goal.
Believe it or not, rewarding a student with an immediate reward, like money, can boost academic performance. In return for setting and completing a goal, give them a fun activity to work towards like a trip to their favorite amusement park, an outing to an ice cream shop, or a sleepover in your home. Although it’s often controversial, you can also reward your child with money, gifts, and other incentives to do better.
3. Make learning fun.
“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Every child learns differently. By giving your kid different ways to learn, you can reach any type of student. Lots of children respond to interactive games and quizzes that they can use alongside books. There are also outdoor activities that can engage your child and provide a hands on learning experience. Explore what works best for your child.
You can make learning fun and entertaining by giving your child an educational game that works with how they learn. According to Neilsen, the average gamer age 13 or older spends 6.3 hours a week playing video games. If you can harness that passion for playing into something educational, then you can motivate your child to engage with fun content that challenges them to master a subject.
Companies like Kahoot and BrainChase give your child the opportunity to apply their knowledge of a subject. These type of apps and websites make learning more like a video game that rewards accomplishing levels of academic understanding. BrainChase also takes it a step further by setting up an interactive scavenger hunt that replaces traditional summer camp.
Want to give them an educational experience outside of four walls? Try taking your child on a field trip. Go to a museum, nature site, or historical town in order to really bring a lesson to life. Having your child connect what is in their textbook with a real life experience is a great way to drive a point home.
After the trip, encourage them talk to you about what they’ve learned and how it relates to what they are covering in class.