What does ‘study smart’ mean? Does it simply mean being able to invest in the least amount of time and effort for the best academic grades? How do we get our children to study smart? TNAP editor Michelle Ang speaks to four preschool experts to find out more.
Expert: Jaclyn Smith, Curriculum Specialist for Learning Vison
“It is first important as parents to recognize what being study smart means to you. To me, it calls for one to be knowledgeable about their strengths and challenges, tap on their strengths and apply various strategies to learning in order to be most effective at performing at their best in school. Being able to apply various study strategies successfully is critical to success in school and useful for lifelong learning.”
Learn What Works Best For Your Child
Start by helping your child recognize what works best for them during the learning process. Having conversations with your child to identify strengths and challenges may be very helpful.
Why? Such conversations help children better recognize themselves as effective learners, and many times, with the facilitation of an adult, provide great opportunities for children to discover specific strategies to abilities or learning styles to better themselves as learners.
How? Your modelling with how to think about how they learn best and the choice of words used in such conversations is important. Some examples are: How do you learn best? What can we do to help you be at your best in school? We can sometimes be rather forgetful with what the teacher may have shared in class, what can we do to better remember what was said?
Have A Good Mix Of Play, Activities And Rest
Developing a schedule with your child is a good exercise parents can participate with their child. This promotes a sense of ownership and responsibility among children in time management. A child ready to learn is a child with a healthy both mind, body and soul. It is important that children receive enough rest to promote better attention and focus.
Children need to feel empowered and capable. Introducing some motivational techniques to your child can be very helpful. Children should always feel ever ready to praise their efforts in all that they do when they give their best and this should start from you. At the end of the day, what we want of our children is not one who tops the class in their grades but one who gives their best in all they do and prides themselves for giving nothing less than their best.
Expert: Fiona Walker, Principal of Schools / CEO of Julia Gabriel Education
Know Your Child’s Learning Style
As your child grows, observe the way they learn: are they able to sit and concentrate for a long time before they become bored with an activity? Do they appear to pay more attention to what people say to them or do they appear to thrive more with visual cues? Understanding what type of learner your child is (auditory, visual or kinaesthetic, or a combination), will help you understand how they study best.
Why? By knowing your child’s learning style, you can help establish the most appropriate strategies to help them study – and even enjoy the process!
Cultivate A Love Of Learning, Right From The Very Start
When children feel safe, nurtured, stimulated and most importantly, enjoy the activities they are engaged in, they are more likely to retain information and feel motivated to learn further.
Why? As soon as learning begins to feel like a chore; something that leads to admonition or punishment if action or results are not as parents or teachers expect, this can lead to a loss of self-esteem and confidence, causing children to become anxious, disinterested and demotivated to learn.
Encouraging A Love Of Learning Through Play
This lays the strongest foundation for enjoyment of learning as a child develops. When you give your infant colourful plastic cups to play with in the bath, scooping and pouring water over and over again, or if you create a little art corner at home for instance; a special place where your child is surrounded by paint, paper, colouring books and crayons, and can scribble away as far as their imagination takes them, you are helping them develop vital skills that they take with them into school and beyond. And importantly, you help them determine their own attitude towards learning.
Maintain A Regular Routine
Incorporate your child’s learning style into a healthy daily routine that breaks study periods, or homework, into well-organised, manageable chunks. Ensure your child drinks plenty of water or healthy drinks throughout the day, eats regular healthy meals and includes plenty of sleep! Allow for downtime, which includes time spent out of doors so your child gets plenty of fresh air. Limit the amount of time time spent watching TV but don’t stop your child from watching their favourite programme.
Why? When we do this we deprive them of the things that help them unwind and relax, as well as the activities, that stimulate them most and actually aid learning.
When exams are round the corner… Don’t stop your child attending regular activities, whether creative enrichment programmes or sports activities just because they have a test or exam coming up. It is tempting to change our child’s regular routine and force them into an unnatural form of study mode, depriving them of everything that is fun in their weekly routine.
Expert: Lim Boon Keong, Deputy Centre Manager of BrainFit Studio (Novena)
Have A Good Night’s Sleep
Every living creature needs to sleep. With an eye to the year-end examination period, all school-age children should be practising good, healthy sleeping habits. These include an adequate amount of sleep time within a dark, cool and quiet conducive environment, as well as ensuring that all screens (TV, laptop, mobile phones) are put to ‘OFF’ and kept out of the room.
Why? Otherwise, mood swings, behavioural and cognitive problems may arise and as a result, lead to an impact on their ability to learn and score well in school.
Work On Tasks At Specific Times Of The Day
Building the routine allows for them to build a schema into their brain that it is time to focus on something else other that what they are busy with right now. It is very much the same rationale as how we build sleep routines for the littlies so that they learn to train the body and mind to slow down before bedtime.
Reward Them For Their Effort
All children like a good challenge and one that rewards them. Work in ways to enhance and build confidence into the child. Stickers work wonders too!